Canada's first prime minister, Sir John A.MacDonald (1815-1891) had a forty-seven year career in parliament that permanently shaped the course of Canadian political life. MacDonald was far more than the chief architect of Confederation - he was a complex, eccentric man who, unlike today's media groomed politicians, rarely subdued his strong personality for political gain. This book gives us the man behind the legend. Lively and revealing anecdotes of Sir John A.'s political and parliamentary life are set against stories of his private joys and sorrows - the murder of his brother by a drunken servant before his own eyes; his rebellious youth; the illness of his beautiful first wife and her addiction to opium; his courtship and second marriage; the tragedy of his only daughter seriously handicapped from hydrocephalus; and his life-long battle with alcohol. Stories of patronage, of political campaigns, loyal supporters, and bitter opponents take readers through many of the major events of nineteenth- century Canada, from the building of the CPR to the Riel Rebellions to name only a few.