IN THIS ISSUE Maclean's publishes an eyewitness account by Blair Fraser of the agonies and ecstasies of the ferment that is life in Red China today. (If you have skipped by it as being “another article about the China Problem,” it’s worth returning to: in the editors' opinion it is, despite the limitations of magazine space, a superbly interesting and revealing report on civilization's prime trouble spot.)
By coincidence, this issue marks a statistical milestone in Fraser’s 23-year career with Maclean’s. His article is the two hundredth he has written for the magazine. Moreover, in the Reports section appears what is — give or take a few columns — his five-hundredth “Backstage.” And as Ottawa editor he has contributed many of Maclean’s editorials.
Contemplating this awesome score, a sports-minded colleague commented, “That puts Blair in a class with Maurice Richard and Gordie Howe.” It’s not a bad analogy, except that, as every writer knows and even editors grudgingly admit, it takes a lot more than the quick deft flick of a sinewy wrist to produce a magazine article. An incalculable number of man-hours of interviewing, researching, observing and writing, and countless miles of travel by every means of transport known to man, have gone into Fraser’s articles. (His current expedition in pursuit of firsthand information, which resulted in the China article, and an analysis of India’s perils and potentials in the February issue, also included Formosa and Hong Kong.)
What Fraser has written for Maclean’s in 23 years adds up to nothing less than a monumental but lively million-word panorama of the sociology, politics, personalities, economics, conflicts and confrontations that have shaped the course not only of Canada but of the world. There are few countries that Fraser has not put under his own brand of penetrating scrutiny. The index of his titles in Maclean’s since his first entry in November 1943 comes close to being a case of “You name it — Fraser has written about it.” Twice he has been awarded the President’s Medal by the GovernorGeneral’s Award Board for the best article written by a Canadian and published anywhere in the world.
Later this year Fraser will add another 100,000 words to his published total, when Doubleday issues his book, Canada: The Search For Identity. It is the final volume in the prestigious Canadian History Series, and Fraser becomes the third Maclean's editor to write a volume in the series. (Thomas B. Costain, who edited the series until his death, contributed the first volume, The White And The Gold, and the late Ralph Allen wrote Ordeal By Fire.)
The publishers are so impressed with Fraser’s “fresh insights and assessments” of the era he covers — from the end of World War II to the present—that they plan a separate edition for the United States.
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