Coming of Age:

A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba

Rated as one of the ten best books on Canadian Prime Ministers by Ken McGoogan, Globe and Mail, October 15, 2011

The first biography in a generation of Canada’s most eccentric and most important prime minister—Mackenzie King—and his defining influence on our 20th century.

Most Canadian historians consider William Lyon Mackenzie King to be not only the country’s greatest prime minister but also its most peculiar. From 1919 to 1948 he occasionally lorded over the Liberal Party, also serving as prime minister for much of
that time.

Mackenzie King was a brilliant tactician, was passionately committed to Canadian unity, and was a protector of the underdog, introducing such cornerstones of Canada’s social safety net as unemployment insurance, family allowances and old-age pensions. At the same time, he was insecure, craved flattery, became upset at minor criticism, and was prone to fantasy.

King loosened the Imperial connection with Britain and was wary of American military and economic power. Yet he loved all things British and acted like a praised schoolboy when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill or U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt treated him as an equal.

This first major biography of Mackenzie King in 30 years mines the pages of his remarkable diary, at 30,000 pages one of the most significant and revealing political documents in Canada’s history and a guide to the deep and often moving inner conflicts that haunted Mackenzie King. With animated prose and a subtle wit, Allan Levine drawsa multidimensional portrait of this most compelling of politicians.

Winner of the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-fiction, 2012

Short-listed for the John W. Dafoe Book Prize

Praise for King

“Until now no one has ever done as magisterial a job as Levine in fusing King’s many parts into a complex but comprehensive whole.”
— Brian Bethune, Maclean’s

“Levine has succeeded masterfully … By examining King’s personality and politics as two sides of the same coin, Levine has produced a wonderfully comprehensive portrait of this intensely disagreeable — yet critically important — Canadian.”
Quill and Quire, Starred Review


"If anyone doubted that King spent a lot of time in la-la land, they need only read Mr. Levine’s intriguing account, one that fleshes out new material from his voluminous diaries"
— Lawrence Martin, Globe and Mail


“If the world needed further evidence to disprove the notion we need to know as much as possible about our political leaders, it’s between the covers of Allan Levine’s new biography of William Lyon Mackenzie King. … A skillful introduction to one of the most important and perplexing personalities to grace the top levels of Canadian political performances.”
— Kelly McParland, National Post

“Allan Levine gave himself the mission of turning this dull but eccentric Canadian into a subject worthy of contemporary discussion. He succeeds, bringing to life the inner thoughts of his subject as best anyone can. … [Levine] is one of those rare writers equally adept at fiction and non-fiction, helpful in the King case where the two realms seem to blend.”
— Donald Benham, Winnipeg Free Press

Interview with Joseph Planta on “The Commentary”

Click Here

Non Fiction Works
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In the last sixty years, Toronto has been transformed from a provincial town to significant urban heavyweight. Few cities have experienced such sustained growth, and the packed streets of North America’s fourth-largest city are a far cry from the origins of the city as “Little York,” which was comprised of the lieutenant-governor’s muddy tent—which he shared with his wife and many children—and some barracks.


Between then and now, fervent Orangemen have imposed strict morals on the growing provincial town, and an influx of immigrants changed the face of the city.


Allan Levine delves into the character of a city that strives to balance urban development with the preservation of its distinct neighbourhoods, to maintain its status without losing its individuality.


Its inhabitants have fought tooth and nail to prevent an expressway being built to the downtown core, have called in the army to clear the city of snow after a blizzard and consistently pack the Maple Leafs’ arena every game, win or lose, making the hockey team the most valuable franchise in the NHL.


The city can also claim one of the first Canadian politicians to stand up for gay rights, a store owner who almost single-handedly preserved theatre in Toronto, and then there’s Mayor Rob Ford…


With the same eye for character, anecdote and circumstance that made Peter Ackroyd’s London and Colin Jones’s Paris so successful, Levine’s captivating prose integrates the sights, sounds and feel of Toronto with a broad historical perspective, linking the city’s present with its past through themes such as politics, transportation, public health, ethnic diversity and sports. Toronto invites readers to discover the city’s lively spirit over four centuries and to wander purposefully through the city’s many unique neighborhoods, where they can encounter the striking and peculiar characters who have inhabited them: the powerful and powerless, the entrepreneurs and the entertainers, and the moral and the corrupt, all of whom have contributed to Toronto’s collective identity.


Praise for Toronto: Biography of a City


"History buffs will thoroughly enjoy Allan Levine’s volume Toronto. This huge book is the result of (obviously) years of painstaking research and thorough writing.” Five Stars.
—San Francisco Book Review

“This highly informative and easy-to- read account accumulates four centuries of history that have transformed “a quiet and family-friendly green space on the rolling land alongside the Humber River” into one of the biggest urban centers in North America. Award-winning author and historian Levine (King) has produced a popular-styled biography” of Toronto, the biggest, the richest, the most multicultural, and the most hated city in Canada.”
—Publishers’ Weekly

“A colourful, comprehensive cultural history of Canada’s largest metropolis…In the same vein as Peter Ackroyd’s literary portrait of London, or Colin Jones’s remarkable study of Paris, author Allan Levine has penned an almost-novelistic account of the city’s rise (and some falls)… Mayor-elect John Tory would be well served by reading Mr. Levine’s book to see what he’s in for.”
—Mark Medley, Books Editor, Globe and Mail

“The subtitle of Allan Levine’s ambitious history of Toronto may seem stolid as the city’s British founding families, but it doesn't take long for the reader to realize how carefully chosen it is. Levine, who won high praise for his 2011 biography of Mackenzie King, treats the city as he would any biographical subject: as a constantly changing personality rooted to the historical moment by a set of defining passions, idiosyncrasies, blind spots, and complex relations with family members… Love it or hate it, Toronto is a slippery city to pin down... Levine’s excellent biography goes a long way to explaining why.”
—Quill & Quire

“…a fond but not uncritical history of Canada's largest city… his handsome book…abounds with punchy portraits of the city's leading citizens: many scoundrels and a few tarnished saints. Levine is adept at linking historical events today's news… Levine enlivens his tale with judicious helpings of sex, drugs and rock and roll…"
—Winnipeg Free Press

“…Levine’s shrewd and lively account of two centuries of Toronto history….”
—Brian Bethune, Maclean’s

“Ambitious in scope and masterful in execution, Allan Levine’s panoramic portrait of our city from its beginnings to the present is sweeping and opinionated, judicious and clever, insightful and gossipy all at once… His summation of the Ford years is simply superb…Let’s face it: for a writer like Levine, a mayor like Ford is a gift from heaven. And, for all of us who love Toronto, so is this book. Toronto: Biography of a City is a timely, vibrant history of our modern megacity as it comes of age.”
—The Canadian Jewish News

"Allan Levine’s biography of Toronto is a triumph of historical storytelling. Avoiding the worn path of grand themes and broad concepts of civic evolution, he instead ventures out, engagingly marshalling real-time encounters of people, places and events—the good, the bad and the ugly of it all. This fresh take on Toronto evokes a saga of the city that keeps the delighted reader turning the pages, eager to enjoy—and learn—more."
—David Crombie, Former mayor of Toronto

“Allan Levine has done us all a favour by devoting his considerable talents and imagination to writing a “biography” of Toronto. The city becomes more real and alive
under his microscope, and his powers of narration and storytelling make this a lively and informative read.”
—Bob Rae, Canada’s History

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Mark Medley, “A Winnipegger tells Toronto’s story,”

Globe and Mail, October 31, 2014

Click Here

Richard Warnica, “New book on Toronto’s odd history

shows the city was weird before Rob Ford,”

National Post, September 29, 2014

Click Here

Our Toronto: Biography of a City, CBC,
October 4, 2014

Click Here

Interviews on Toronto: Biography of a City

To buy Toronto: Biography of a City on Amazon click below

Click Here

MIRACLE AT THE FORKS
The Museum That Dares Make A Difference

Co-authored with Peter C. Newman

(Figure 1 Publishing, 2014)
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The engaging story of the making of Canada's fifth national museum - a beautifully designed homage to Izzy Asper's dream of making a difference

It was on July 18, 2000 that Israel (Izzy) Asper, the renowned Canadian businessman and philanthropist, first discussed his idea of building a human rights centre in Winnipeg. He wanted to build a museum that would make a difference; that would help educate visitors to the museum about human rights issues, all with the aim of making the world a better, more humane place.


He shared this vision with Moses (Moe) Levy, the Executive Director of the Asper Foundation, and gave Levy the mandate to make the museum happen.

Miracle at the Forks recounts the fourteen-year ordeal of making Izzy Asper’s dream a reality. It recounts the financial and political challenges of building a world class museum in Winnipeg, an objective that was made all the more difficult by Asper’s death not six months after the public unveiling of plans for a national museum at The Forks on

April 17, 2003. It is a story of passion and sheer will, about Moe Levy's determination to see Asper's grand idea come true, of Gail Asper's fortitude and unflagging drive to make sure her father's most cherished project became real, and of the countless others who lobbied, donated money, volunteered time, and fought to make the museum happen.

Written by acclaimed non-fiction writers, Peter C. Newman and Allan Levine, Miracle at the Forks also tells the story of the building of the museum itself, of the international competition to find an architect to design the building, and of Antoine Predock, one of the finest architects in the world who dared build a museum that is as remarkable in its construct as Izzy Asper’s dream was in its audacity.


Filled with full colour photography and exquisitely designed, this book will mark the official opening of The Canadian Museum for Human Rights on September 20, 2014.

Further Reading on Miracle at the Forks,

The Museum That Dares Make a Difference

Excerpt in Maclean’s, August 11, 2014
Click Here to Read



Excerpt in Winnipeg Free Press,
September 13, 2014
Click Here to Read



Video links to the book’s story by the Asper Foundation
Click Here to Watch



To buy MIRACLE AT THE FORKS, The Museum That Dares Make A Difference

Click Here

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KING
William Lyon Mackenzie King:
A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny

(Douglas & McIntyre, 2011)

To buy King

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Interviews on King

Interview with Joseph Planta on “The Commentary”


Click Here


Interview with Charles Adler


Click Here to Watch


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COMING OF AGE
A History of the Jewish People of Manitoba

(Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada and Heartland Associates, 2009)

This 500-page comprehensive and accessible history of the Jews of Manitoba reflects what is already known about the community, introduces new material, and casts an eye at the 130-year history of Jews in Manitoba from the earliest days of settlement in 1880 up to the present.

Coming of Age is the first book-length history of the Jews of Manitoba to be published in over thirty years.

Winner of the McNally-Robinson Book of the Year 2010

Winner of the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award for History, 2010

Co-winner of the J.I. Segal Prize in Canadian Jewish History, 2010

Winner of the Margaret McWilliams Award in Popular History, Manitoba Historical Society, 2010

Praise for Coming of Age

"Levine’s research is comprehensive, his style absorbing, and his love of his subject a tonic"
—Sir Martin Gilbert, historian and official Winston Churchill biographer

"A fascinating historical account of one of the most creative Jewish communities on this planet. Well worth reading"
—Allan Gotlieb, former Canadian Ambassador to Washington

"Coming of Age is a remarkable work. It is a mammoth book filled with riveting stories, striking illustrations and testimony to intensive research and careful thought. … The
writing is clear, lucid, and sprightly … [and] the subjects come alive. … [Levine] is a great storyteller"
— Winnipeg Free Press

"An incredible achievement"
—The Jewish Post and News

“Allan Levine gives us a chronicle of astounding scope.”
Canadian Jewish Studies

“This book engages, informs and entertains in effective, if not vigorous, prose.”
Canadian Ethnic Studies
To buy Coming Of Age

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THE DEVIL IN BABYLON
Fear of Progress and the Modern Life

(McClelland & Stewart, 2005)

Further Reading on
Coming Of Age

Ezra Glinter,
“In Winnipeg, Jewish life 
has been far from quiet,”
Tablet, July 24, 2009

Click Here to Read



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What should the modern world look like? Who should be its leaders? And what values should it embrace? We have never wrestled over these questions more than in the first three decades of the twentieth century.

Allan Levine’s book chronicles this wide-ranging emotional and moral conflict by focusing on the people who lived through this turbulent era: an array of personalities – traditionalists as well as progressives, the powerful and the powerless – who, for better or worse, shaped the contours of contemporary North American society.

Among them were anarchist Emma Goldman, prohibitionist and creationist William Jennings Bryan, women’s rights campaigner Nellie McClung, and gangster Al Capone.

Their personal experiences are set against the heated debate about the impact of immigration, the role of women, the conflict between science and religion, the influence of Hollywood, and the changing attitudes about sex – issues that preoccupied, and even consumed, North Americans of all classes.

Short-listed for the McNally-Robinson Book of the Year, 2006

Short-listed for the Alexander Kenney Isbister Award for Non-Fiction, 2006

Excerpt from Canada’s History magazine, April-May, 2005

Praise for THE DEVIL IN BABYLON

“[A] wonderful history of sin in the city in the early 20th century.”
—Globe and Mail

“ A fair-minded, fascinating and well-balanced book.”
—National Post

“Levine has written a fast-paced and abundantly informative study of early twentieth-century social history…His book is a whirlwind tour through the years. It repays reading and re-reading. I wouldn’t have missed a single page. Trust me—you’ll feel the same.”
—Books in Canada

“ Levine brings the historical material to vivid life, shining new light on previously well- trodden ground …. [The Devil in Babylon is] a sterling example of popular history that gives the reader much to think about.”
—Vancouver Sun

“ Levine has written an enjoyable, fascinating and readable book….Levine is an excellent storyteller….He writes clearly and evocatively.”
—Winnipeg Free Press

"Compelling and gracefully written work of popular history…Levine's portraits of the characters on both sides of the divide are fascinating…The Devil in Babylon is an engrossing and somewhat prophetic book, a reminder that a commitment to social justice and fairness is an evolving covenant"
—Quill and Quire

"Levine has clearly mastered the skill of historical narrative"
Philip Marchand, Toronto Star


Further Reading on
THE DEVIL IN BABYLON

Click to Read Here
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From Seville in 1492 to Kiev in 1967, book brings to life twelve defining points in the Jewish Diaspora in a series of
moment-in- time portraits of individual people, their families and communities, and the cities they inhabited.

In addition to Seville, where the story begins with the expulsion of the Jews from Spain, and Kiev, where the refusenik Jews fought for the right to emigrate to Israel, there is Venice in 1516 and the establishment of the first ghetto, Constantinople in 1666 and the Jewish physicians to the sultans, Amsterdam in 1700 and the glorious rebirth of Sephardic Jewish culture, Vienna in 1730 and the immensely powerful yet vulnerable court Jews, Frankfurt in the 1840s during the Age of Emancipation, St Petersburg in 1881 and the pogroms inflicted on the shtetls, Paris in 1895 and the Dreyfus scandal, New York in 1913 and the tenement life and culture of the Lower East Side, Berlin in 1925 when there was talk of a German-Jewish ‘symbiosis,’ and the dreadful plight of the Vilna ghetto in 1944.

But the focus of each chapter is the personal and public lives of individuals. A few, such as merchant and poet Don Isaac Abravanel, soldier Alfred Dreyfus, and writer and editor Abraham Cahan, are well known; others, like doctor Moses Hamon, financier Samuel Oppenheimer, and journalist Judah Leib Gordon, are now unjustly forgotten.

Their successes or failures as teachers, rabbis, merchants, writers, soldiers, and physicians add a colourful and human dimension to the sprawling saga of the Diaspora.

Short-listed for the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year, 2003

Short-listed for the Alexander Kenney Isbister Award for Non-Fiction, 2003

Praise For Scattered Among the Peoples

"Bears the mark of the novelist"
—Quill & Quire

"Immensely informative and accessible.… Levine's strategy is very clever…Throughout this journey, we encounter a range of mesmerizing characters. … By the book's end [Levine] has managed to weave these separate snapshots into a compelling and devastating portrait"
—Globe and Mail

"A tightly focused book…Levine's account is spirited and deft…His skill at recasting familiar history makes this a useful and lively introduction to the subject"
—Jerusalem Post

"A fluent recounting of eight centuries [of Jewish history]…Lively portraits of historical figures large and small…"
—Kirkus

"[A] sprawling, highly readable historical survey…Levine's account is insightful, informative and great popular history. He has an easy style and can pack a wealth of information into a brief essay…an entertaining and useful book"
—Publishers Weekly

"His is a wandering tale that moves from royal courts to backwater towns, form gloried respect to frenzied fear. Above all, it is a saga of survival"
—Dallas News

"Levine has given us an exceedingly well-written survey of Jewish history…[The] author[has the] remarkable ability to combine lively popular history with outstanding scholarship"
Broward Jewish Journal (Florida)

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SCATTERED AMONG THE PEOPLES
The Jewish Diaspora in Twelve Portraits


(McClelland & Stewart, Toronto, 2002, The Overlook Press, New York, 2003 Duckworth Publishers, London, 2003)

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To buy The Devil in Babylon

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To buy Scattered Among the Peoples

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More than fifty years ago, as the Second World War and the Nazi assault on Europe ended, approximately 25,000 Jews, entire families in some instances walked out of the forests of Eastern Europe. For three years, these men, women and children had miraculously survived eluding Nazi hunts and Soviet, Polish, and Ukrainian partisans who often killed first and asked questions later.

They had escaped from the Nazi ghettos and slave labour camps and formed secret partisan camps in the surrounding forests.

The forest not only protected them, it also became their base for sabotage and resistance efforts against the Germans and their allies.

Many of us will ask the troubling question, why did not more Jews resist?

But the question should be, how, under the circumstances, was any resistance possible at all?

Winner of the Canadian Society for Yad Vashem Award in Holocaust History, 1999

Short-listed for the McNally-Robinson Manitoba Book of the Year, 1999

A selection of the Traditions Book Club in the United States

"I hope that Defiance will inspire [people] to learn more about the true story. They can read about it in Allan Levine's amazing book, Fugitives of the Forest. I couldn't believe these people's will to survive"
— Actress Alexa Davalos, who plays Lilka Ticktin in the 2008 film Defiance, the love and future wife of Tuvia Bielski.

"This is a story told just in time, for the many eye witnesses are dying every year now. But Levine carefully documents their accounts and reconstructs a powerful moment of triumph in the middle of the modern world's greatest catastrophe"
— Doug Wead, U.S. presidential historian, philanthropist, and Special Assistant to U.S. President George H. W. Bush

“Allan Levine’s ambitious chronicle…meticulously researched…is a must read for those who wonder about organized Jewish resistance to the Holocaust.”
—Globe and Mail

“[This] book justifies itself historically and morally. Levine’s sober tone is, after all, a retort to the livid obscenity of history"
—Toronto Star

“Allan Levine has written an important book…He tells the story of Jewish armed resistance in Eastern Europe very well. He weaves personal vignettes, often poignant into his narrative…His graphic and gripping account should ensure a wide readership.”
Winnipeg Free Press

“For those of us who participated in the events detailed in this book, its significance lies in the author’s ability to chronicle our thoughts, our moods, our objectives, our tragedies, and our sufferings, as well as our hopes, dreams, and victories.”
—Peter Silverman, A Former Partisan


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FUGITIVES OF THE FOREST
The Heroic Story of Jewish Resistance and Survival During the Second World War


(Stoddart, Toronto 1998 & The Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, New Haven, CT, 2009)
To buy Fugitives of the Forest

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SCRUM WARS
The Prime Ministers and the Media

(Dundurn Press, Toronto, 1993
)
A lively look at the complex relationship between the Prime Ministers of Canada and the

media.

Based on a year of independent research at the National Archives in Ottawa as well as in other archives and libraries across the country, this book examines the often- strained relationship between Canadian prime ministers and the media from John A. Macdonald to Brian Mulroney. More than 60 interviews were conducted with the who’s who of Ottawa to produce a provocative and insightful survey of how journalists have affected the course of Canadian political history.

Praise for Scrum Wars

"Allan Levine has produced a masterful survey of how the media and Canadian prime ministers interact, protect and savage one another. Levine makes a subject that could have been a real snorer read like a detective novel"
—Peter C. Newman, Maclean’s

“It’s about time someone came close to telling the truth…of how the information that voters need to make democratic decisions is harshly brokered between and among politicians, reporters and the owners of the nation’s media outlets…Scrum Wars makes a good start…"
—Globe and Mail

"Allan Levine is quickly emerging as one of the country’s best popular historians…Anyone concerned about the power of the national media…would do well to read Scrum Wars"
—Prince George Citizen
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To buy Scrum Wars

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To buy Your Worship

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YOUR WORSHIP:

The Lives of Eight of Canada’s Most Unforgettable Mayors


Editor and contributor
(James Lorimer & Company, 1989)

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An entertaining portrait of eight of Canada’s most dynamic civic leaders. As editor, I oversaw the entire project, edited the book and researched and wrote a chapter on former Winnipeg mayor Stephen Juba.


Praise for Your Worship




THE EXCHANGE
100 Years of Trading Grain in Winnipeg.
(Peguis Publishers, Winnipeg , 1987)
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“[Levine] meticulously pieces together a fascinating quilt that reveals the best and worst of free enterprise on the hoof”
—Maclean’s

"[Levine] can write with the best of the Canadian journalist-quasi- historians"
Vancouver Sun

"An impressive first work by a promising author"
—Winnipeg Free Press

To buy The Exchange

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A highly-entertaining flashback"
—Winnipeg Free Press

“[Levine] has added a delightful volume to the history of Canadian politics."
—Ottawa Citizen

"Levine has compiled an entertaining and informative survey"
—Alberta Report

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Toronto: Biography of a City


Douglas & McIntyre, 2014

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