Diefenbaker: Remembering the Chief


160 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-385-19789-6





Edited by Thad McIlroy
Reviewed by P.J. Kemp

P.J. Kemp was a journalist living in Brigham, Quebec.


There is a generally accepted maxim that those who forget history are condemned to repeat it. Publishers approach this problem with considerable zeal when the historical subject they think is in imminent danger of being forgotten is John G. Diefenbaker. Every few months there is another book that purports to offer the weary reader yet another unique insight into the man and his politics.

Those of us on the shadow side of 30 have already lived through much of it. We’ve also read about it, and read about it, and read about it. It gets to the point with all-Canadian heroes where the public knows every nose and ear hair with more intimacy than do the subjects in question.

Diefenbaker is an attempt to capitalize on the ‘84 Conservative sweep, which reminded some sentimentalists of the ‘57 Diefenbaker sweep. The cartoons do not offer any particular insight now, and have lost much of their humour with the passing of time. The “quotes and warm recollections” are insular and minimal.

The entire package has the look of having been put together out of a sense of duty rather than interest. A reader will have to be a real Diefophile to get much out of Diefenbaker And come August, the anniversary of John Diefenbaker’s death, one can almost anticipate the publisher’s cry of “Okay, boys, time to crank out another Dief book.”


“Diefenbaker: Remembering the Chief,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 12, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/37019.