Canada and the End of the Imperial Dream: Beverley Baxter’s Reports from London through War and Peace, 1936–1960
by Neville Thompson
Oxford University Press
406 pages, $29.95
As Canada approaches key commemorations for the first and second world wars, the country’s British heritage has taken on renewed interest. Respected historian Neville Thompson delivers a compelling narrative of the last great years of the Anglo-Canadian connection, which is carefully woven together from the accounts of Canadian-born journalist and British Parliamentarian Beverley Baxter.
From 1939 to 1960, Baxter’s Letters from London was one of Maclean’s magazine’s most well-read and influential columns. Although Thompson draws heavily upon this treasure trove of first-hand accounts of British political life during the eras of prime ministers Neville Chamberlain and Winston Churchill, this is not a book of excerpts. Only brief quotes from selected letters are used. Instead, in Canada and the End of the Imperial Dream, Thompson expands upon them, providing a rich context to the times in which Baxter wrote.
It’s a great political history book that provides an insider’s guide to the people and events that shaped wartime and post-war Britain as well as Anglo-Canadian relations at a crucial time when world powers and allegiances were shifting and Canada was confidently coming into its own.