Driving Force: The McLaughlin Family and the Age of the Car

Driving Force

Heather Robertson

Subtitled “The McLaughlin Family and the Age of the Car,” Driving Force is the 140-year history of the founders of General Motors of Canada, the McLaughlin family.

It follows the family from its arrival in Canada from Ireland in 1832 until the death of R.S. McLaughlin, one of the creators of the McLaughlin-Buick, in 1972. It is also the story of how the motor car transformed the face of the country and the lifestyle of Canadians. The book contains more than 80 photographs.

The novel provides an in-depth portrait of a family whose innovations in the automobile industry made a direct impact on the history of transportation in Canada.

Driving Force: The McLaughlin Family and the Age of the Car began as a magazine article. “When I first started my research I found that nothing substantial had been written about the McLaughlin family,” says Robertson.

As she delved into the McLaughlin family’s history, Robertson realized that she couldn’t write about Colonel McLaughlin, one of the founders of the McLaughlin-Buick, without writing about the car, auto industry and workers, and driving. “The book is really a social history of the car in Canada.”

About the author:
Robertson is an award-winning novelist who has written several non-fiction works including Reservations Are For Indians, A Terrible Beauty: The Art of Canada at War, and More Than A Rose: Prime Ministers, Wives and Other Women. She also contributes to several magazines including Saturday Night, Canadian Forum, Equinox, and Toronto Life.

Robertson is delighted Driving Force was chosen this year. “The award recognizes a ground-breaking book,” she says. “It is the first book about the auto industry in Canada. I hope other writers will be encouraged to follow and write about other industries in Canada,” she adds.

1996 Winner