writer, researcher, editor, lecturer


R.B. (Rae) Fleming


Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2010, ISBN 978-1-55488-720-0, $40.00; and e-book, 2011, at Indigo, Amazon and Google, $9.99.

Peter Gzowski: A Biography Inevitably a biography of Gzowski is a memoir of his country during the last half of the twentieth century. Here was a man who was proud to call himself Canadian and who made millions of other Canadians realize that Canada was, in what he claimed was a Canadian expression, not a bad place to live.

COMMENTS RE Peter Gzowski, A Biography:

"Magnificent! Fleming's honesty and empathy make it appear he was invented for this assignment.… Its tone is neither worshipping nor condemning. But he brings his protagonist alive, no holds barred." (Peter C. Newman, Literary Review of Canada, October 2010)

"A major new biography… will generate debate about the true legacy of this driven, talented man with a golden mind and feet of clay." (Terry MacLeod, Winnipeg Free Press, 21 August 2010)

"Everyone old enough to care about the life of Peter Gzowski knows that, from time-to-time, even a hero can be a bit of a shit." (Harry Bruce, Nova Scotian, 12 September 2010)

"I can't say more for Fleming than that he's made me think freshly about a subject I believed I knew well. He's given us an absorbing, provocative book about a man who was even more complicated than most of us imagined." (Robert Fulford, The National Post, 21 August 2010)

"Complicated is too anodyne a word to describe the Peter Gzowski who emerges from Fleming's pages. But on radio he was magic." (Dr. Brian Bethune, Maclean's Magazine, 30 August 2010)

"Biography is a tough art, particularly when the subject -- unlike, say, a politician anticipating fame -- neither keeps a diary nor employs someone who does. Fleming has done a thorough job here, searching out whatever archival sources do exist and interviewing those who knew and worked with Gzowski. There is an occasional minor error (Timmins' bilingual radio station was CFCL not CKCL). But, in general, the scholarship is impeccable." (Thomas Walkom, political columnist at Toronto Star, in Ontario History, Autumn 2011)

"Last year's triumphant biographies of two great Canadians, R.B. Fleming's Peter Gzowski, A Biography and Charles Foran's Mordecai Richler: The Life and Times... restored our faith in a form too often degraded into the literary equivalent of Jersey Shore." (Movie Entertainment, 2011)

"An important statement as to what is truly involved in an individual's ascent to the top: fame exacts a terrible price…" (Ian Gordon Malcomson, Smithers BC)

"This book will have a long shelf life because it tries to understand all aspects of Gzowski's life, both public and private." (Dr. Elwood Jones, Trent University)

"What a great read! What a tremendous research job! A tour de force!" (John Millyard)

"I am truly delighted and dazzled by the meticulous research and footnoting… and the manner in which Fleming has stitched together such a complex web of sources into a clear and balanced (and compelling) narrative is truly impressive." (Dr. Roger Sarty, Wilfrid Laurier University)

"Fleming does something very unusual for a Canadian writer. He exposes the quirks and foibles - the dark side - of a complicated, flawed, supremely talented personality who died a Canadian icon." (Willa McLean, Snowbirds, October 2010)

"A marvellous job of showing both the magical spell of the man on radio and the tortures the man went through…" (Roy MacGregor, Globe and Mail feature writer)

"The enduring value of Fleming's book is the saga of a very imperfect man who told stories, and a reminder of just how magical radio can be…." (Suanne Kelman, The Globe and Mail, 28 August 2010)

"A well-researched, perhaps definitive biography of a talented journalist who became a national celebrity and who came to personify a self-confident, compassionate - yet sometimes smug - Canada." (Nancy Schiefer, London Free Press, 4 September 2010)

A "thoroughly researched and artfully presented biography." (Chris and Pat Raible, From The Bookshelf in OHS Bulletin, October 2010)

"Radio… allowed Gzowski to be intimate in front of the whole country while remaining solitary…. What's more, often his friends didn't know him that well either." (Richard Handler, producer, Morningside)

"Clearly going to be a great success." (Dr. Michael Bliss)

"We need more Gzowskis but we need more Flemings too." (Peter C. Newman)

Rae B. Fleming

1606 Rd 46, Woodville ON, K0M 2T0 CANADA

© 2002, Updated 2011, Created by