Donald Savoie’s biography of Harrison McCain is truly a Donald Savoie work. The Université de Moncton academic, whose expertise on governance and regional development has made him a leading public intellectual in New Brunswick, examines the
McCain Foods co-founder through the prism of the Maritime economy.
For a scholar, Savoie is a deft writer, smart yet accessible—his anecdotes of McCain’s blunt-yet-endearing manner are brisk and priceless—so he can be forgiven for the occasional and brief digression into other areas that interest him. He always gets back on track quickly.
Savoie is up front about his admiration of McCain, but doesn’t shy away from faulting him for ignoring succession planning until it was too late; McCain’s disagreements with his brother Wallace tore their family apart. The real question is whether another Harrison McCain is possible today. Savoie’s answer is worth pondering for anyone hoping the Atlantic economy will be rescued by the emergence of another larger-than-life entrepreneur.
Harrison McCain: Single-Minded Purpose
by Donald J. Savoie
$29.95, hardcover, 338 pp.
McGill-Queen’s University Press, November 2013