THE GOOD STEWARD: THE ERNEST C. MANNING STORY
The Good Steward
The Ernest C. Manning Story
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The first book-length biography of Ernest Manning, the longest-serving premier of Alberta, who directed the transformation of the province from Depression-era poverty to modern, oil-based affluence.
“Brennan’s brilliance as a storyteller shines through, making Ernest C. Manning more than just words in a history book. Alberta’s prosperity is built on the hard work of men like Manning. The Good Steward reminds us of that debt.” Calgary Herald
Brian Brennan traces the story of a poor farm boy from Saskatchewan with little formal education who rose to become one of the most successful politicians in Western Canadian history while simultaneously attaining long-lasting success as the director of Canada’s National Back to the Bible Hour radio program. Here’s a video of Brennan mentioning that program:
Drawing extensively from a series of oral-history interviews Manning did for the University of Alberta archives after he left provincial politics; from an unpublished memoir written by his wife Muriel; from interviews with family members, former colleagues and others; and from the various books and articles written about the rise and fall of the Social Credit in Alberta, Brennan tells how Manning:
- Left the farm as a teenager after hearing William Aberhart preaching the Bible on the radio and moved to Calgary with the intention of becoming a minister of the gospel.
- Became Aberhart’s full-time assistant, helping run the Prophetic Bible Institute and participating in his radio broadcasts.
- Helped Aberhart organize study groups around the province to make Albertans aware of the social-credit monetary reform theories of an English economist named Major Clifford Douglas
- Coordinated the initiative to turn Social Credit from an educational into a political movement when the ruling United Farmers of Alberta refused to adopt its economic policies.
- Stage-managed the successful 1935 provincial election campaign that saw Social Credit swept to power with fifty-six of sixty-three seats and, at age twenty-six, became the youngest cabinet minister in the British Empire.
Brennan also tells a couple of jokes going the rounds when Manning was in power:
“Brennan’s brilliance as a storyteller shines through, making Ernest C. Manning, premier of Alberta for 25 years and subsequently a member of Canadian Senate for 13, more than just words in a history book. Alberta’s prosperity is built on the hard work and personal commitment of men like Manning. The Good Steward reminds us of that debt.”–The Calgary Herald
“The Good Steward is a fascinating chronicle. . . The book deserves a place in every school library, as well as on the shelves of anyone interested in what, besides oil and gas, has made Alberta so different from the nine other provinces.”–Fast Forward Weekly
“Finally, a biography of Ernest Manning. Brian Brennan delivers a probing but respectful biography of one of Alberta’s most forceful and influential personalities that brings to light how Manning and his government’s policies transformed Alberta from a have-not province into an economic powerhouse. I’ve always admired Ernest Manning; my government adopted many of the policies he instituted as premier, and subsequent governments have built on those. Alberta’s oil and gas industry infrastructure, for example, began with Ernest Manning and still bears his imprint. Anyone wanting to understand how Alberta became what it is today should begin by reading Brennan’s biography of the Saskatchewan farmer’s son who became this province’s longest serving premier.”–The Honourable Peter Lougheed
Here Brennan talks to Terri Campbell, host of CBC Radio One’s Daybreak Alberta, about The Good Steward:
Read a wide-ranging interview about The Good Steward by clicking HERE.