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The other Mrs. Diefenbaker [Hardcover]

Simma Holt
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Politics behind politics Aug. 22 2004
By A Customer
This is book offers an excellent insight into the private life of John Diefenbaker through a wide variety of interviews with family, friends, and colleagues. Focusing primarily on the first half-century of his life, many insinuations are made proclaiming Edna Diefenbaker as the backbone of John's political initiation and the top force behind his successful bid to become Prime Minister of Canada.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Served its purpose when it was written Aug. 20 2007
This book served its purpose when it was written, in the aftermath of the death of John D. Diefenbaker in 1979, when the public at large started to become aware that there had been an Edna Diefenbaker before Olive Diefenbaker.

Some of the records which would have been useful for this book were sealed until 1999. Since then, Denis Smith's copious biography of John Diefenbaker, 'Rogue Tory', which also contains a great deal of information about Edna, used the newly available sources.

So this book is both too dated to be reissued, and in any case Denis Smith's work will now probably be unsurpassed.

But for its time, the book served its purpose of educating Canadians about Edna Diefenbaker. In any case, in the aftermath of The Chief's state funeral, there was certainly a market for it.

Simma Holt's main thesis seems to be that Edna made John Diefenbaker the politician he became.

It is also true that the fact that Edna married John Diefenbaker is the main area of public interest for the book, although it must be stressed that a woman of her undoubted talents could have made her mark elsewhere, which possibly could have merited a different book being written about her.

So they complemented each other. Simma Holt does not exactly say this, though.

Simma Holt, a former Liberal MP, seems to say that Diefenbaker cruelly neglected Edna. But she also acknowledges that Diefenbaker was greatly appreciative of Paul Martin's Senior's advice about medical assistance for Edna, and that Diefenbaker was deeply affected by her death. Without doubt he was absorbed in his work, and could be inconsiderate at times. But the suggestion of a cruel and callous man with no feeling for his ailing wife is one which I do not buy.
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