ISBN 10: 1896941427 / ISBN 13: 9781896941424
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Inhaltsangabe: Montreal in the 1940s and '50s was Canada's largest, most vibrant and colorful city. No one could foresee that political and economic factors would cripple the city and send it into a long decline. William Weintraub, writing with insight and affection, brings the Montreal of his youth vividly, entertainingly and wittily to life in this remarkable book.The Montreal he describes was a city with two communities, English and French, who lived separate lives. They met along the dividing line that was The Main - St. Lawrence Boulevard and the nearby streets, where gambling joints, bordellos and night clubs prospered, and where striptease artiste Lili St. Cyr became the toast of the town and gangsters raked in profits while the police looked the other way. It was the Montreal of the colorful, charismatic mayor Camillien Houde within the repressive and corrupt Quebec of premier Maurice Duplessis.William Weintraub looks at all aspects of life in Montreal in what Mordecai Richler called an engaging, evocative book about Montreal's prime-time.

From the Inside Flap: Montreal in the 1940s and '50s was Canada's largest, richest, most vibrant and colourful city. It was, at the end of those prosperous decades, "bursting at the seams," still growing, still far ahead of Toronto. No one then could foresee the rise of Quebec separatism, which would cripple the city, and send it into its long decline.

In City Unique, William Weintraub introduces the reader to many of the extraordinary characters who gave Montreal its singular flavour. They include Camillien Houde, the mayor who was interned during the war for advocating treason; Lili St. Cyr, the ultimate striptease artiste, who mesmerized men and boys; Maurice Duplessis, the dictatorial premier who could evict individuals from their homes if he suspected they were communist; Harry Ship, the czar of illegal gambling dens; and Anna Beauchamp, the flamboyant madam who operated a string of at least a dozen brothels.

Montreal was a "wide-open town," the vice capital of Canada, where the amply bribed police and politicians connived to resist all attempts at reform. But two crusaders, Pacifique Plante and Jean Drapeau, were determined to clean up the city and Weintraub gives a lively account of their battle with the vice lords.

During the era, far-reaching changes took place within the communities that comprised Montreal's three solitudes - the English, the French, and the Jewish - and the author examines their effects. He also describes the city's passionate ideologues, both communist and fascist, their struggles and changing fortunes in the aftermath of the Second World War. He examines, too, the emergence of a generation of novelists, playwrights and poets, including Hugh MacLennan, Gabrielle Roy, Irving Layton and others who set a new standard for Canadian literature.

The 1940s and '50s were a unique period, different from everything that came before - the Great Depression, the lingering stuffiness of the Edwardian era - and different from the period that followed - signaled by Quebec's Quiet Revolution. It was a pivotal, momentous time. William Weintraub, writing with indignation and affection, brings the Montreal of his youth vividly, entertainingly and wittily to life in this extraordinary book.

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