Straightforward and unprepossessing, René Lévesque was the most unlikely leader. Yet his charisma affected even those who disliked his political aims. Born into a Quebec dominated by the Catholic Church, rural values, and anglophone control of business, he was part of the 1960s Quiet Revolution that saw the province become a secular society bent on economic success—and political independence. A journalist, war reporter, and television host, Lévesque channelled his communication skills into a political career that encompassed the most tumultuous periods in Canadian history. And in 1980, as founder of the Parti Québécois, he held a referendum that permanently altered the country’s political landscape. Acclaimed novelist and translator Daniel Poliquin offers a unique portrait of Lévesque the man and politician, at once affectionate, critical, and incisive.