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Sir John A.
by Christopher Moore

LAST YEAR when Cynthia M. Smith and Jack McLeod presented the Oxford Book of Canadian Political Anecdotes, our only complaint was being given a slim volume when a fat one was obviously called for. In exchange, we may get a whole stream of anecdotal sequels, starting with Sir John A.: An Anecdotal Life of John A. Macdonald (Oxford University Press, 192 pages, $24.95 cloth). It's odd how Macdonald the personality continues to live on in Canadian tradition, while our constitutional wrangles go on and on in ignorance and contempt of everything he and the other constitution makers of 1867 thought and said. Still, he is far and away the most appealing figure in our public life, attractive even when he appalls us. So the editors have had no trouble selecting a pretty fair crop of stories for this book. To check, say, whether he really said, "We must defend the interests of the minorities, and the rich are always fewer than the poor," you would have to go elsewhere. (Yes, he did. It was a defence of the Senate.) But the essence of the man is here, in a well-organized and entertaining little book.

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