The Incredible Canadian: A Candid Portrait of Mackenzie King: His Works, His Times, and His Nation

The Incredible Canadian: A Candid Portrait of Mackenzie King: His Works, His Times, and His Nation

The Incredible Canadian: A Candid Portrait of Mackenzie King: His Works, His Times, and His Nation

The Incredible Canadian: A Candid Portrait of Mackenzie King: His Works, His Times, and His Nation

Excerpt

The origin of this book is to be found on a forgotten page of the Canadian parliamentary record for January, 1942, wherein the late R. B. Hanson, leader of the Opposition, is quoted as discussing, in a rather homely and gauche fashion (as was that darling old gentleman's habit), the character of W. L. Mackenzie King, Prime Minister of Canada.

A previous book by this writer had said that, on occasion, King found it necessary to cut the throats of friends and enemies, always in the interests of the public welfare. Hanson, with comical relish, asked King if that was an accurate description of his methods. King replied: "That is the only way to treat certain classes of enemies." He added that if his honorable friend was going to take this writer "as authority for my character . . . I am ready to abide by Mr. Hutchison's decision."

The Prime Minister's careless retort seemed to offer an invitation, even a challenge, though none, of course, was intended. From that day forward I planned eventually to write a book on King. It took longer than I had expected. The work proceeded in fragmentary and disjointed fashion over the years. I soon found it impossible to separate the individual man from the collective substance of the nation which he dominated for some three decades. Consequently, this book is an attempt to study a Canadian era and many of its major inhabitants--an era of great men, great events, great achievements in Canada, and bitter disappointments.

From that era we inherit the present. The teeming years of King, his friends, his enemies, and his people, may be worth examination if the present is to be understood and mastered.

This book is not an authorized or even a detailed biography. It does not pretend to be anything like a complete study of King or of . . .

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