Recommended reading from Peter Mansbridge

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May 2, 2013 marked Peter Mansbridge's 25th year as the host of CBC's The National. During that time, Mansbridge has spoken to a lot of authors -- and read a lot of books. Mansbridge regularly discusses his favourite books on Inside the News, and CBC Books has decided to highlight five of these picks to build our very own Mansbridge reading list. 

Check them out, alongside great archival content from Mansbridge's storied career, below.

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The Downing Street Years by Margaret Thatcher


"A good time to read, or re-read, Mrs. Thatcher's 1993 memoir. You need a lot of knowledge of domestic British politics at some points. But you can skip those sections if you want to. The familiar highlights of her time as Prime Minister are quite enough - the Falklands war, the Brighton bombing, the miners' strike. The lady was not for turning, so don't expect any apologies for any of her policies or decisions."

Peter spoke with Thatcher in 1993. Watch that interview in the player above.

In the Face of Disaster: True Stories of Canadian Heroes from the archives of MacLean's


"A collection from the archives of Maclean's magazine. How it reported some of the biggest disasters in Canadian history. Some were natural (The Porcupine fire of 1911), some man-made (The Quebec bridge collapse of 1907), some on the water (The Ocean Ranger in 1982), and some in the air (The Marten Hartwell story in 1972). History as it happened."

Fighting Words: Canada's Best War Reporting by Mark Bourrie


"The book goes back to Vikings and Colonial wars, but back then there was no real reporting. By the First World War though, it's riveting stuff. There are tremendous reports from WWII by Matthew Halton, Ralph Allen, and a searing version of the Dieppe Raid by Ross Munro. You can also read the last story written by Michelle Lang before she was killed in Afghanistan."

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The Taliban Don't Wave: The Combats and Trials of a Canadian Officer in Afghanistan by Robert Semrau


"Robert Semrau is the Canadian captain in Afghanistan who was charged with murdering a Taliban soldier, who was already dying. He was found guilty only of a lesser charge and dismissed from the military. But the book he's written isn't about that episode. It's about his life as a combat soldier in Afghanistan, and it's the best-told version I've read. He manages to express his fear, his excitement, and his frustration. And it's also clear he has a remarkable sense of humour."

Robert's first television interview was with The National in September 2012. Watch that conversation in the player above.

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The Dirtiest Race in History by Richard Moore


"You might not think it would take a 300 page book to dissect a race that was over in 9.79 seconds. But it's worth it. The race, of course, is the 100 metre final at the 1988 Olympics. Canadian ecstasy when Ben Johnson won, followed by the agony of his disqualification for taking drugs. We know a lot about all that already, but the book is superb in describing the hatred that built before the race between Johnson and American Carl Lewis. And it points out that of the eight sprinters in that race, only two have never been tainted by drugs."

The National covered the breaking story of Ben Johnson's positive drug test in 1988. Watch that story in the player above.