Barbarians at the gate

To the National War Museum, then, for the launch of Michael Petrou’s Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War. An extraordinary event, really: hundreds of people came out, leaving very few empty chairs in the new museum’s big amphitheatre. Mike read moving, often funny excerpts from his book and the audience listened intently. The Q and A session was a little top-heavy with people who assumed, without having read Mike, that he must have missed some big point about the war. One fellow was eager to impress upon the room the fact that some of the Canadian fighters had been Communists. Mike assured him he had it covered. But the evening was a smashing success, and Mike will be travelling for a while to promote the book, so keep an eye out for an event near you.

Petrou, the quiet one in the Maclean‘s Ottawa bureau, is only the latest author in the magazine’s storied ranks. I’ve bored you too much about my own book, although I am still gratified to hear when it finds new readers. There’s also The Sundog Season,  a gentle, finely drawn coming-of-age novel by our otherwise tough-as-nails bureau chief, John Geddes; Andrew Potter’s counter-countercultural The Rebel Sell; Mark Steyn’s universally beloved America Alone, which is new in paperback for those who ran into difficulty finding a copy of the hardcover;  and books too numerous to mention by Scott Feschuk, Brian D. Johnson, Alexandra Shimo and so many more.

A diverse bunch, with more to come. But I’m pretty sure that all of us at Maclean‘s are especially looking forward to seeing what this guy‘s been up to.