Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Diplomat: Lester Pearson and the Suez Crisis

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Diplomat: Lester Pearson and the Suez Crisis

Article excerpt

Antony Anderson, The Diplomat: Lester Pearson and the Suez Crisis (Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane, 2015), 400pp. Cased. $32.95. ISBN 978-0-86492-874-0.

Antony Anderson, a journalist and documentarían, has been working on an account of Lester Pearson's life and career since the 1990s. This is evident in the attention and care he devotes to his protagonist, whom he credits with helping to 'create the twentieth-century Canada that I admire and treasure so much' (p. 7). Though this is his first book, Anderson does a commendable job of detailing Pearson's life and career, culminating in how he was able to broker the creation of the United Nations Emergency Force, the world's first peacekeeping contingent, which entered the Sinai region in the autumn of 1956. While the book's subtitle suggests that this work deals solely with the Suez Crisis, Anderson returns readers to Pearson's beginnings as the offspring of a Methodist minister who regularly uprooted his family as his postings demanded. This is said to have imparted to Pearson both a sense of universalism, and an acceptance of those who are different, since his world was more expansive than others in Ontario at that time. Anderson also takes some liberties, though not without reason, in his descriptions of young Lester Pearson's exposure to the British Empire and how he romanticised its glories while remaining aware of the particularities of life in Canada. It is these themes, universalism, and pragmatism, which Anderson believes are at the heart of Pearson's acumen as a diplomat (p. 34).

The book moves along at a good pace through its early chapters, which give fascinating insights, including Pearson's suffering from shell shock during the First World War. …

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