From the Stacks

From the Stacks: Canadian Defence Scheme Number One

A Plan for a Preemptive Strike on the United States by the British Dominion of Canada, circa 1921

[...] Yet, until the 1920s, there was a real risk that the Anglo-Japanese alliance would draw Canada into war with the United States. The British were quite serious about their alliance with Japan, inviting Japan into the inner circle of the Allied Powers in the Paris peace talks ending World War I1. The alliance bound Britain to neutrality in the event of war between Japan and one other power, and to military support of Japan in the event of war between Japan and two other powers.

[...] James Sutherland "Buster" Brown prepared for a war with the United States. Thus was hatched Canadian Defence Scheme No. 1. [...] To counter the seemingly overwhelming American military advantage, "Buster" Brown envisioned a preemptive strike against the United States. Canadian troops would mobilize quickly and attack with little warning, relying on surprise to penetrate American soil as far south as Oregon.

From the Stacks: Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men

The article below appeared in the February 1924 issue of The American Magazine, a mass-circulation magazine that transmitted the popular culture of the day to the households of America. The magazine boasted on its cover “More than 2,000,000 Circulation,” — quite impressive for a nation whose population numbered 106 million, as of the 1920 census. Although it is attributed to an anonymous author, “Why I Never Hire Brilliant Men” was the cover story for that issue. In the practice of the day, however, the cover illustration was completely unrelated to the cover article. (The New Yorker, one of the few surviving magazines from that era, still carries on this tradition).

The article explains all the faults that the author found endemic among brilliant men.  They start well but never finish, they get excited over revolutionary developments but grow weary of repetitive small tasks.  This was so exasperating to the author that, after experiencing several such brilliant men in his business, he decides that he’s better off not hiring them.  Full of pithy quotes and life lessons learned from individual experiences, the article reads almost like a modern-day issue of Reader's Digest, with its prescriptions of hard work and [...]

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