Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Peter Newman's Loyalists

Peter C. Newman, the prolific and distinguished journalist who has been publishing successful books since the 1950s, launches Hostages to Fortune, a history of the United Empire Loyalists.

I've never been too taken with Newman's historical works, as opposed to his contemporary studies. As an interviewer, he has been almost without peer, with an extraordinary ability to get people who should know better to say confidentially to him things that he will immediately publish. (Recall the fury of Brian Mulroney and a long line of business executives who somehow mistook him for an ally and confidant?)  But you can't interview historical subjects, and Newman's histories, notably of the Hudson Bay Company, always seemed tone deaf to all the nuance and detail that he would instantly have picked up from a live subject.

Those stiffly formal Enlightenment loyalists, full of "was always fully conscious of the duty of loyalty he owed to his gracious sovereign" seem unlikely confidants for Newman, who has always preferred powerful winners to principled losers. On the other hand, as a refugee who made good in this country, he may identify. The Charles Pachter cover is good.
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