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Peter Newman: 'Finally Unmasked Me'

Bestselling author laughingly blasts critical review by Tyee's Crawford Kilian.

Peter C. Newman 2 Apr

Author of 22 books that have sold two million copies, Peter C. Newman has won a half dozen of the country's most illustrious literary awards. A former editor-in-chief of the Toronto Star and Maclean's, Newman has been honoured with a National Newspaper Award and has been elected to the News Hall of Fame.

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Peter C. Newman: Why are so many people reading my book?

[Editor's note: Tyee contributing editor Crawford Kilian published a critical review of Peter C. Newman's latest bestselling book When the Gods Changed: The Death of Liberal Canada. Newman requested a chance to respond, and we gladly oblige here.]

Never, not ever in my 60-plus-year literary career has anyone suggested that a book of mine contained not a single redeeming virtue. That in fact, "I can't write."

Crawford Kilian has finally unmasked me as having masqueraded as a man of letters when I am but dirt under his erudite, academic heel.

However, I intend to spend the rest of my days in a ceaselessly dedicated hunt for the 2.5 million errant readers who have purchased and read my books -- seeking redemption. Thus, I hope to cleanse myself of the delusional Toronto literary habits that he imagines have done me in. That will be a Herculean challenge since I long ago moved from Sin City to the hay fields of Belleville where I wrote the book in question and have pursued my wicked ways in a countryside unspoiled by the overcooked ravings and misguided rants that Prof. Kilian accuses me of. I proved his case: I ended a sentence with a preposition, or is it proposition? I always forget.

However, I must point out that perhaps his patently libelous, literary assassination was misplaced. "Few seem to share my opinions of Newman," Kilian himself confesses in his ersatz book review. "At year's end, on the Amazon site, When the Gods Changed ranked as #1 in books on political parties and leadership; #2 in Canadian books and #164 among all Amazon bestsellers."

That listing, by the way, included U.K. and U.S. political publications, so I must assume that somebody, somewhere must have discovered a telling phrase or smidgen of an idea among my worthless eruptions. Prof. Kilian's drive-by literary shooting may have missed its target.

I should add how proud I was that David Beers, an editor I have always praised and supported, publicly and privately -- and in fact so trusted that he edited one of my most successful books -- would disseminate such obvious drivel. He exercised his editorial prerogative, and I have no quarrel with that.  [Tyee]

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