Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Richard Gwyn 1934-2020

Gwyn and Gray
I once heard, at a John A. Macdonald birthday party shortly before the 200th (I think those events have stopped now), Richard Gwyn being introduced as "the official biographer" of John A. Who made that appointment, I thought? Gwyn himself may have winced a bit -- he was always a journalist and proud of his independence. But the success of his market-leading, conversation-dominating, two-decker Macdonald biography seemed to make the title inevitable.

Was it the last of its kind? Gwyn the last heir of Pierre Berton able to turn Canadian history into immense bestsellers? Kind of feels like it now.

Charlotte Gray, whose own histories are more intimate, less heroic, unlikely to be "official," writes an affectionate tribute to Gwyn in the press today, focussing on his great journalistic influence in his day.    

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