23 August 2011

Onward, Brith'ish Business Men!

The Destiny of The British Empire and The U.S.A.
"The Roadbuilder" [pseud. W. G. MacKendrick]
[Toronto]: Commonwealth, 1957

The author makes it quite clear that this is not a book for everyone:

A short-haired business man himself, in the first half of the last century The Roadbuilder (né William Gordon MacKendrick) made a small fortune spreading concrete and asphalt over vast stretches of Canada and the United States. During the First World War he served as Director of Roads for the British Fifth Army in France and Belgium. This was a wonderful time for MacKendrick, because he saw in each bloody battle a sign of the End Times. He cheered the destruction and carnage. The 1917 capture of Jerusalem, at a cost of some 43,000 dead and wounded, was a happy event in which the "Brith'ish" had at long last fulfilled God's will in taking the city from the Gentiles.

Yes, the Gentiles.

You see, MacKendrick was a believer in Anglo-Israelism. The "facts, statements and deductions" in this, his first book, are put forth as evidence that the people of Great Britain and their descendants are the true people of Israel. His king, George V, was the direct successor of the House of David. Lest a short-haired business man question his beliefs, The Roadbuilder is quick to point out:
I may mention that my bank backs my word and judgement to the tune of between a quarter and half-million dollars overdraft each season, and they, as you know, have the habit of looking into the innermost recesses of one's make-up...
The Destiny of The British Empire and The U.S.A. is a directionless and nonsensical book that owes much to the 250 or so Anglo-Israelist writings upon which it is based. It's a chore to read, despite some very simple, folksy language. MacKendrick's beginning sets the tone:
Say, reader, did you ever write a book? No! Well, neither have I, so we break even on that score.

Dealing with this chatty, chipper, rambling prose, I couldn't help but imagine The Roadbuilder as the very worst of dinner guests; and so, I was tickled to see that he describes an evening in which he played that very role. MacKendrick's companions were fellows in the fight against the Hun. Officers all, a safe distance from the front, their time at the table was pleasant until, as MacKendrick says, he "chucked out something about the Jews". He's soon interrupted by a dining companion, who whispers in his ear:
"You know Major Blank is a Jew."
Major Blank sat next to me on my left. Of course, I knew he was a Jew, as did everyone else, because he had the typical Jew nose and face, and the Jews' business capacity. I relied out loud: "He is a first cousin of mine! The Major belongs to the tribe of Judah, while I am from the Tribe of Benjamin, on my mother's side and from the tribe of Gad on my father's side."
Turning to the Major I said, "By the way, Major, I suppose you remember that the Bible said of your people the Jews (Isaiah iii. 9): 'The shew of their countenance doth witness against them'? And so down through the ages, you can always tell a Jew as far away as you can see his face."
And then, in keeping with his beliefs, MacKendrick goes on to explain that the Jews are being persecuted "for having rejected and crucified our Lord." Later in the book, The Roadbuilder writes of the "synagogue of Satan", the "New York Jewish Bankers" supporting Lenin and Trotsky, and reports that "1,766,118 murders were perpetrated in Russia by the Jewish Reds".

As with The Roadbuilder's other works, the strong stench of anti-Semitism pervades. I should add here that MacKendrick was not a church-goer; indeed, he spills a good amount of ink ridiculing men of the cloth for failing to recognize the "Brith-ish" as the true children of Israel. "I have never joined a church", he writes with pride – a claim at odds with his Great War papers, in which the author recorded his religion as Church of England.

My copy of The Destiny of The British Empire and The U.S.A. is the "Fourteenth Revised Edition". I've not seen the previous thirteen, published over a period of 36 years, but wonder whether there have been any revisions at all. In this edition at least, The Roadbuilder allows his original predictions stand:
What does this mean to you? Since these material, earthy, and national promises dated for 1917 and all previous dates have been fulfilled, what about those for 1921, 1922, and 1923, and so on to 1936 when Armageddon is to be finished? You can depend on it that every divinely inspired prophecy from 1917 to 1936 will come true at the allotted time.

No less than three editions, 13,000 copies in all, were published after MacKenrick's Armageddon. Twenty-one years after the anticipated apocalypse, it seems that The Roadbuilder felt no need to revise his prophesy... at least not here. In 1942, during that other World War, MacKendrick published This IS Armageddon! God Wins it for Britain and America, a much slimmer volume in which he has the final battle taking place before the autumn of 1943, with Adolf Hitler literally pitching a tent in the shadow of Mount Carmel.

MacKenderick died a nonagenarian in 1959, by which time the Anglo-Israelism banner had been taken up by American Herbert W. Armstrong, son Garner Ted, and their Worldwide Church of Christ (né Radio Church of God). Faded and torn, it's carried on by weak, stumbling folk today.

Now, of course, we have to contend with Rick Perry, his friends in the anti-Semitic American Family Association, and the hysterical New Apostolic Reformation Movement.

Object and Access: An unattractive, cheaply produced hardcover, issued without dust jacket. Twenty-three copies are currently listed for sale online, though not one is a first edition. Better than one in four are signed, which surely says something about distribution. Copies begin at US$9.00. Smelling profit, the print on demand folks have moved in, commanding the highest prices. They are to be ignored. Library users, look to the universities and the Toronto Public Library.

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