The other Mrs. Diefenbaker Hardcover – 1982
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Top Customer Reviews
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.