William Lyon Mackenzie King was a political survivor who consistently beat those opponents who underestimated him. He was a complex and canny man, and few realized how good he was as a political operator. King was safe, staid, even boring, like an elderly aunt, who never changed the fading lace and served watery tea in cracked china. Canadians at the time evidently took solace in him. What a surprise when, after his death in 1950, it was revealed that King had a robust spiritual life, found solace in séances with the dead, and kept a 30,000 page diary that was filled with deep revelations.
Tim Cook is the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum. He is the author of six books, including Shock Troops, which won the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and he was a juror for the 2010 prize. He was also awarded the J.W. Dafoe Prize and the Ottawa book Award for At the Sharp End. He lives in Ottawa.
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