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John Meisel, beloved Queen’s professor, public intellectual, and gifted raconteur, has penned a spellbinding memoir. The story begins in 1923 in Vienna as John recounts his early schooling and traces his family’s escape from war-torn Europe. This vividly recounted journey winds through Eindhoven, Casablanca, Rio de Janeiro, Panama, and Port-au-Prince and culminates with his family’s arrival in Toronto, where a Canadian immigration officer’s welcome forever colours John’s perception of his new home. Joining Queen’s in 1949, his tale continues with an engaging portrait of Canadian university life during the last sixty years. He provides a revealing insider’s view of the CRTC (which he chaired), and describes the experiences of a Canadian professor straddling university and government cultures. Astonishing in its depth and influence, the tale is told in the wise and witty voice of this singularly remarkable man.
Praise for A Life of Learning…
John Meisel is a national treasure – with a Moravian accent. His life and times have bridged fabulous careers in academia and public affairs, anointing each with the grace of his thoughts and the cadence of his words. This is a book for the ages.
PETER C. NEWMAN, Journalist, author, former editor of Maclean’s and Toronto Star
A tale of courage and creativity that reveals, in part, why John Meisel has been a source of inspiration for so many, and has remained an inspiration for over fifty years.
GILLES PAQUET, Senior Research Fellow, Centre on Governance, University of Ottawa
John Meisel’s memoir of learning epitomizes the qualities that underpin his remarkable career – erudite, insightful and often witty, stimulating and never dull. All are reflected in rich anecdotal flavour. A literary gem – the hallmark of a man whose intellect and humanity touches the lives of many, like me, who are privileged to know him as a professor, a colleague, and as a friend.
DEREK BURNEY, Officer of the Order of Canada and a former Ambassador to the United States
Meisel’s voice warms the pages of this engaging memoir. The story of the life of a student, teacher, scholar, regulator, and public intellectual – a Queen’s man who made a difference to his students, his academic discipline, and his fellow citizens. It’s a rich tale of becoming and being a Canadian as much at home in rural Ontario as in the capitals of the world.
KENNETH CARTY, Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia
John Meisel has given us a great gift: a wonderful sense of himself – a life filled with a passion for politics, friendship, and the ideas which make Canada the envy of the world. He shares intimate memories and makes them social and political history. Everyone who reads this memoir will be enriched as thousands of his students and friends have been for decades.
LISA DE WILDE, Chief Executive Officer, TVO (Ontario’s public educational broadcaster)
Revered by colleagues and students for six decades, John Meisel’s memoirs reveal his devotion to university teaching and to his research into political processes. Delightfully written, the account is filled with fascinating personalities and marked by an irrepressible and whimsical sense of humour.
RONALD L. WATTS, Principal Emeritus, Queen’s University
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