Before Hannan, Hannay…
With Dan Hannan busy talking up the virtues of the Anglosphere in his excellent new book, it’s well worth noting the publication of John Buchan: Model Governor General by Bill Galbraith (full disclosure: an old friend) a fine, admiring account of the time that Buchan (best known to the world—and to me— as author of The Thirty-Nine Steps) spent as Governor-General in Canada (he was to die there, still in office, in 1940 aged only 64). Truly a man of the Anglosphere, Buchan, a Scottish patriot, empire loyalist and a strong believer in the beneficial contribution that the English-speaking peoples could make to the future, worked with the British High Commissioner in South Africa, before taking a series of jobs in London, and then finally ending up in Canada.
To say Buchan was polymath is something of an understatement. He published his first two books (dozens more were to follow) while still an undergraduate, qualified as a lawyer, worked as journalist, editor and publisher. He was a successful businessman, a member of parliament and, during the First World War, a propaganda chief.
Oh yes, he had, wrote the New York Times, a “hopeless prejudice” towards the United States.