The Life of the Canadian Journalist Who Interviewed Hitler
Owing to his shocking red hair, he was “Rufus” to friends and family, while his many readers in newspapers across Canada knew him as Lukin Johnston. The second son of an impoverished English vicar, at 18 he emigrated to Canada to seek his fortune in 1905. He survived indentured labour on Ontario farms, two failed Prairie farms and the winter of 1906. From east to west, Rufus worked across Canada in banks, lumberyards, coalyards, fruit farms, railway construction, even insurance, before finally being hired at the Vancouver Province in 1910.
A natural journalist, by 1916 Rufus had been editor of the Cowichan Leader and news editor of the Victoria Colonist. When World War I struck, he joined up, went to Vimy and was a staff-captain at Passchendaele, Amiens and Arras, finishing the war as a major. Back at the Province he ground out years in the journalistic trenches. Desperate for interesting work, he infuriated his superiors by independently covering the Washington Naval Treaty in 1921, then Warren Harding’s 1923 trip to Alaska. These trespasses made his reputation and the Province handed him the magazine section and in 1928 dispatched him to London to lead their first overseas bureau.
His articles on the English scene soon delighted ex-pat Canadians, but as European skies darkened his investigative reports left readers in no doubt about the danger of a new war. As they digested his interview with Hitler in November 1933, they heard of his mysterious disappearance from the ship back to England. His untimely death at 46 cut short a writing career that significantly affected the Canadian political landscape.Canadian War History / Biography Paperback
6 x 9
Price: $19.95 CDN / US