Cold Fire

Kennedy's Northern Front

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Forget all you think you know about the Kennedy years. With narrative flair and sparkling storytelling, acclaimed historian John Boyko explores the crucial period when America and its allies were fighting the Cold War's most treacherous battles, Canadians were trading sovereignty for security, and everyone feared a nuclear holocaust.

At the centre of this story are three leaders. President John F. Kennedy pledged to pay any price to advance his vision for America's defence and needed Canada to step smartly in line. Fighting him at every turn was Conservative prime minister John Diefenbaker, an unapologetic nationalist trying to bolster Canada's autonomy. Liberal leader Lester Pearson, the Nobel Prize-winning diplomat, sought a middle ground.
     Boyko employs meticulous research and newly released documents to present shocking revelations. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Canadian warships guarded America's Atlantic coast and Canada suffered a silent coup d'état. Canada was involved in Kennedy's sliding America into Vietnam. Kennedy knew the nuclear missiles he was forcing on Canada would be decoys, there only to draw Soviet nuclear fire. Kennedy's pollster and political adviser travelled to Ottawa under a fake passport to help defeat the Canadian government. And, perhaps most startlingly, if not for Diefenbaker, Kennedy may have survived the bullets in Dallas.


Praise for Blood and Daring:
"[A] wonderful and seamless popular history full of colourful characters, intrigue and political backstabbing of the first order. . . . Boyko’s accomplished narrative is precisely the kind of popular history that deserves a wide audience." —National Post

Praise for Cold Fire: 
“[E]ngaging. . . . Cold Fire is a well-researched political page-turner.” —Allan Levine, Maclean’s

“I was struck by how deftly [Boyko] explained Canada’s involvement in the U.S. conflict. . . . [I] love how he interweaves Canadian and American history.” —Megan Moore Burns, Quill & Quire

“Clearly, Boyko has done his homework. Heavily footnoted and brimming with quotes from primary sources (talking both on and off the record), Cold Fire ably recreates the tense and dangerous era of the early 1960s. Conversational accounts offer a compelling fly-on-the-wall viewpoint. . . . [R]efreshingly assertive analysis. . . . Cold Fire illustrates a crucially important pivot point in Canadian politics.” —The Georgia Straight

“[Boyko shows that] the cold fire of Canadian-American relations is still blazing hot.”The Washington Times