Making It Home: Memoirs of J Angus MacLean


288 pages
Contains Photos, Index
ISBN 0-921556-73-X
DDC 971.7'04'092





Reviewed by Agar Adamson

Agar Adamson is the author of Letters of Agar Adamson, 1914–19 and former chair of the Department of Political Science at Acadia University in Nova Scotia.


Anyone interested in Canadian politics, Prince Edward Island, or World
War II will find this book both useful and entertaining. It begins with
an account of MacLean’s adventures as a downed RCAF bomber pilot in
1942. With the assistance of the “Comet Line,” an underground
organization that helped allied military personnel travel through
occupied Europe to Spain, MacLean managed to escape from Holland to
Gibraltar. He made it home and back to service in the RCAF, though for
obvious reasons he never flew over occupied territory again.

MacLean grew up rooted to rural Prince Edward Island and the
Conservative party. After two failed attempts, he won a by-election (in
1951) and served as an MP for 25 years until he retired to lead the
provincial Tories to victory in 1979. MacLean was Minister of Fisheries
during John Diefenbaker’s tenure as prime minister. Although a
Diefenbaker loyalist, he was not above criticizing “the Chief.”
MacLean looked on the prime ministership of Pierre Trudeau with dismay,
and he was never a fan of the Charter of Rights. His comments on other
prime ministers, from St. Laurent to Mulroney, are insightful (he is
particularly harsh toward Clark and Mulroney). He writes fondly about
his fellow premier, René Lévesque, and he supports Quebec’s special
place in the federation. He also illustrates some of the traditions of
P.E.I. politics.

Finally, Making it Home takes us back to the family farm in Lewis,
Prince Edward Island, the inspiration for the P.E.I. Tory’s slogan
“A rural renaissance.” MacLean’s love for the land is well
illustrated. We learn that the family farm on the Island has been in
decline since 1911.

As fellow Islander Mike Duffy states in the foreword: “Angus MacLean
brings a critical, well-informed point of view to the Canada of today
... The book is not only highly informative, it is a pleasure to


MacLean, J. Angus., “Making It Home: Memoirs of J Angus MacLean,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 16, 2024,