The Mackenzie King Record - Vol. 1

The Mackenzie King Record - Vol. 1

The Mackenzie King Record - Vol. 1

The Mackenzie King Record - Vol. 1

Excerpt

This book is not a biography, though it is an integral part of the biographical project undertaken by the Literary Executors of the late W.L. Mackenzie King shortly after his death in 1950. The task of writing an official biography was then entrusted to the late Professor R. MacGregor Dawson, whose first volume was regrettably not published until after his death in 1958.

When it became evident late in 1957 that Professor Dawson's health was seriously impaired and that he would require assistance if there was to be any prospect of completing the biography, the Literary Executors secured the services of Professor Blair Neatby of the University of British Columbia to collaborate in the preparation of the second volume covering the years from 1923 to 1939. After Professor Dawson's death, Professor Neatby undertook to complete this volume. Early in 1958 I had suggested to my fellow Literary Executors that I would be willing to prepare a rough narrative covering the years from 1939 to 1950 as a foundation for Professor Dawson's third volume. This offer was accepted, and after Professor Dawson's death I was asked by them to complete the volume.

My original design was to prepare a rough narrative from Mackenzie King's diaries and to fill in this narrative later from other sources. I had not proceeded very far before it became clear to me that so much had happened in those war and post-war years that the narrative could be compressed into a single volume only by condensation on such a scale that the result would be as attractive and appetizing as dehydrated food, or by selection of a few high lights to the exclusion of other events which, while less dramatic, were equally important. I did not want to do either and told the Literary Executors I would prefer to do two volumes instead of one.

As the work proceeded I realized more and more that Mackenzie King's own contemporaneous and unrevised record of events would have far greater interest for the public and also far greater historical validity than anything I could write and that I should let him tell the . . .

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