Extraordinary Canadians Lester B Pearson Hardcover – Sep 16 2008
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About the Author
Andrew Cohen is associate professor at the School of Journalism and Communication and the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University. Cohen's previous books include The Unfinished Canadian: The People We Are and While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, which was a finalist for the Govenor General's Award and a Globe and Mail Notable Book. He lives in Ottawa with his family.
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Top Customer Reviews
Pearson was as dull as his predecessor was visionary; his talent was an ability to mediate passionate issues which came to define a vision of Canada that ultimately became real. He's the mirror image to John Diefenbaker, who inspired people with glowing visions of a rugged Canadismo but wasn't organized enough to get a cup of coffee and do-nut from a free lunch counter.
Cohen presents a masterful sketch of Pearson's career and achievements; yet, he fails to understand why Diefenbaker/Pearson duality is as significant as John A. Macdonald in the 1860s. Significantly, neither Macdonald nor Diefenbaker are included in this series.
In 1957, Diefenbaker lit the fuse of Canadian nationalism. In 1963, Pearson became the conciliator in the delicate art of statecraft who blended those surging nationalist passions into one nation. Had any prime minister of recent times been in office instead of Pearson, Canada might have been Balkanized into its five constituent parts.
Like Forrest Gump, Pearson was the right man in the right place at the right time with the right sense of compromise. After a cabal of vain hotheads launched the Suez crisis of 1956, and within days realized their mega-blunder, Pearson was the one whom all respected enough to accept his all-around face-saving solution. It was diplomacy at its finest, the most astute resolution of an international crisis since the United Nations was founded.Read more ›
Pearson was always a realist, never much of an ideologue. Where Pierre Trudeau was mostly flash, Pearson was all substance. Cohen describes Pearson as being the middle inning reliever, not the flash of a starter, nor the brashness of a closer, Pearson was the "no-name" Prime Minister who knew how to get things done.
Overall, this is a good overview of a great man. It's not too full of detail but just enough to make it worth your while reading. I definitely recommend the book especially if you are Canadian.