Friday, April 04, 2008

Newman ...still bitter after so long?

Peter C. Newman reviews James Raffan's George Simpson biography, Emperor of the Bay, in the current Literary Review of Canada here. But Raffan's book hardly gets the attention it deserves. Most of the review is Newman's petty, whiny attack on Jennifer Brown for her unflattering review, years and years ago, of one of Newman's own Hudson's Bay Company books.

Newman's had an extraordinary career; as his recent encounter with Brian Mulroney proved again, he is a genius with an interview. But you cannot interview the dead, and Newman never got into his historical subject the way he does with his live ones. His HBC histories were tone-deaf, confused, and canting, and Professor Brown did the world a service by saying so. Raffan deserves Newman's praise; the rest should have been left lying.
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