An intriguing look at one of Canada's least-known Conservative leaders.
No Canadian prime minister has a legacy as uncertain as that of R.B. Bennett (1870-1947). Leader of the country during the worst years of the Great Depression, Bennett's fortune and ascension to the British House of Lords distanced him from the Canadian people during his lifetime, while his burial in England kept him aloof from his country even in death. In Search of R.B. Bennett explores the statesmanship, ideas, and temperament of Canada's eleventh prime minister, presenting an enigmatic portrait of a difficult and fascinating man.
Writing a life of Bennett, who reportedly destroyed his correspondence every seven years, presents challenges for the biographer. Yet, as P.B. Waite shows, Bennett's lasting contributions to Canada are beyond doubt. He describes Bennett's bold initiatives, including his attempt to introduce unemployment insurance and a minimum wage, as well as his founding of the Bank of Canada and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - achieved in the teeth of opposition from banking and media magnates. Waite also contemplates Bennett's friendships, his relationships, and his lifelong bachelorhood, shedding new light on his life and personality.
With warmth, wit, and a deep knowledge of its subject, In Search of R.B. Bennett brings Bennett the man - his penchants, prejudices, weaknesses, and strengths - before the reader.