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John Lennox and Clara Thomas.

Toronto, University of Toronto Press, c1982.
356pp, cloth, $24.95.
ISBN 0-8020-5593-1.

Reviewed by Steven Wells.

Volume 11 Number 2.
1983 March.

Many Canadians are unaware of William Arthur Deacon. Fortunately, this fine biography rescues him from an unjust fate. Deacon became the "first full-time, professional book reviewer that Canada had ever seen." From 1922 to 1929, he was book editor for Saturday Night; then, he reviewed books for The Mail and Empire until, in 1936, he joined The Globe and Mail. He served as book editor at the Globe until his retirement in 1960.

Deacon, an ardent nationalist, hoped that his readers would acquire a taste for domestic books. He saw himself as "an introducer and an interpreter," and he believed that Canadian authors could achieve international prominence.

Deacon was a prolific letter writer, and he offered frank, professional advice to many authors. His biographers have quoted liberally from his correspondence with such writers as Murphy, Knister, MacLennan, Raddall, and Roy.

Deacon became an influential member of the Canadian Authors Association, serving as national president. Also, he worked to create both the Governor-General's Awards and the Leacock Medal.

This biography is a model of scholarship. Sources are carefully documented, and an appendix contains selected writings by Deacon. Photographs and illustrations complement the text.

In 1919, Deacon wrote, "I should describe my own humble function as that of a herald-an anonymous figure." This biography is a tribute to a man who selflessly devoted his life to Canadian books.

Steven Wells, Elliot Lake S. S., Elliot Lake, ON.
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