Sir William Macdonald (1831-1917) is the father of the Canadian tobacco industry and one of the country's foremost educational philanthropists. His contributions to McGill University transformed it into one of the world's foremost research and teaching institutions. William Fong's biography places Macdonald's life in its historical context, painting a vivid portrait of Victorian Canada. Born into a prominent Scottish family on Prince Edward Island, Macdonald rejected his Catholic upbringing and left home when he was eighteen. After three years in Boston as a bookkeeper he headed to Montreal and began to work as a commission agent. By 1868 Macdonald had become the leading manufacturer of chewing tobacco in Canada, and by 1885 he may have been the richest person in the country. Macdonald turned to philanthropy when he was in his fifties; his endowments to institutions from Prince Edward Island to British Columbia made professionalism and practical education central to Canadian life. Fong describes in particular how McGill University evolved, largely through Macdonald's financial contributions, from an impoverished institution into an intellectual powerhouse. Most famously, he financed the research that led to Ernest Rutherford's Nobel Prize and to the start of the atomic age. "Sir William C. Macdonald" offers the first detailed look at the development of engineering, physics, and law at McGill. The publication of this biography coincides with the centenary of Macdonald College, which houses the Faculty of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences of McGill University.