"...an outstanding biography of Canada's longest-reigning prime minister." -- Montreal Gazette
"In King, Allan Levine gives us a readable, comprehensive account of a prime minister we ought to know about. He also reminds us that, in ever-changing ways, King haunts us still." -- Globe & Mail
The first biography in a generation of Canada's most eccentric and most important prime minister -- Mackenzie King -- and his defining influence on our 20th century.
Most Canadian historians consider William Lyon Mackenzie King to be not only the country's greatest prime minister but also its most peculiar. From 1919 to 1948 he occasionally lorded over the Liberal Party, also serving as prime minister for much of that time.
Mackenzie King was a brilliant tactician, was passionately committed to Canadian unity, and was a protector of the underdog, introducing such cornerstones of Canada's social safety net as unemployment insurance, family allowances and old-age pensions. At the same time, he was insecure, craved flattery, became upset at minor criticism, and was prone to fantasy -- especially about the Tory conspiracy against him. King loosened the Imperial connection with Britain and was wary of American military and economic power. Yet he loved all things British and acted like a praised schoolboy when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill or U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt treated him as an equal.
King comes at a time when the Canadian people have resoundingly rebuffed the Liberal party under Michael Ignatieff; while the party's future remains uncertain, this definitive biography sheds light on its history under its greatest leader.
This first major biography of Mackenzie King in 30 years mines the pages of his remarkable diary. At 30,000 pages, King is one of the most significant and revealing political documents in Canada's history and a guide to the deep and often moving inner conflicts that haunted Mackenzie King. With animated prose and a subtle wit, Allan Levine draws a multidimensional portrait of this most compelling of politicians.