Douglas & McIntyre

Book details:

September 2011
ISBN 978-1-55365-560-2
6" x 9"
552 pages
24 b&w illustrations
Biography & Autobiography / Political BIO010000
$36.95 CAD


  • Allan Levine’s King has won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction.
  • Allan Levine’s King Nominated for J. W. Dafoe Book Prize

Douglas & McIntyre


William Lyon Mackenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny

The first biography in a generation of Canada’s most eccentric and most important prime minister—Mackenzie King—and his defining influence on our 20th century.

Most Canadian historians consider William Lyon Mackenzie King to be not only the country’s greatest prime minister but also its most peculiar. From 1919 to 1948 he occasionally lorded over the Liberal Party, also serving as prime minister for much of that time.

Mackenzie King was a brilliant tactician, was passionately committed to Canadian unity, and was a protector of the underdog, introducing such cornerstones of Canada’s social safety net as unemployment insurance, family allowances and old-age pensions. At the same time, he was insecure, craved flattery, became upset at minor criticism, and was prone to fantasy—especially about the Tory conspiracy against him. King loosened the Imperial connection with Britain and was wary of American military and economic power. Yet he loved all things British and acted like a praised schoolboy when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill or U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt treated him as an equal.

The book comes at a time when the Canadian people have resoundingly rebuffed the Liberal party under Michael Ignatieff; while the party's future remains uncertain, this definitive biography sheds light on its history under its greatest leader.

This first major biography of Mackenzie King in 30 years mines the pages of his remarkable diary, at 30,000 pages one of the most significant and revealing political documents in Canada’s history and a guide to the deep and often moving inner conflicts that haunted Mackenzie King. With animated prose and a subtle wit, Allan Levine draws a multidimensional portrait of this most compelling of politicians.

About the Author

Allan  Levine

Allan Levine

Allan Levine is an award-winning author and historian who has written eleven books, including King (Douglas & McIntyre, 2011), the critically acclaimed ...

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News & Events for King

  • Allan Levine’s King wins Manitoba Book Award Read more >>
  • Allan Levine’s King Nominated for J. W. Dafoe Book Prize Read more >>
  • Allan Levine’s King Nominated for Manitoba Book Awards Read more >>
  • Allan Levine's King Profiled Extensively in the National Post Read more >>
  • The Top 10 Things You Should Know about Mackenzie King Read more >>