September 19th 2009

Rattenbury. Terry Reksten

Victoria - The Empress
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Rattenbury. Terry Reksten. 1978 . ISBN 1550390902.  If you know your BC history you know that Francis Rattenbury was “our” architect for the Empress Hotel,  BC’s Parliament buildings and Victoria’s Crystal Palace.  He also designed stately buildings still standing in  New West,  Vancouver , Nanaimo,  Nelson,   Calgary as well as many of the CPR hotels. .  This is great story , it appears he was one of those who did everything himself, delegated little, did not even try to stay on budget or schedule, and was not above helping himself to lots of perks along the way. He was very skilled in self promotion, supremely over confident, shrewd to a fault  with a monster  ego to match. He mistreated his wife, cheated on, then divorced  her and was eventually murdered in England by his second wife’s teenage lover. Seems like a very hard person to like, if at all. This is quite the book making our   present day politicians seem pretty pale compared to those that Rattenbury and the CPR  manipulated. The author writes cleanly and concisely, so this is an easy read.  If one of the US page turner writers grabbed this guy, Rattenbury would become quite the arch villain who comes to a bad and deserved end. Enjoy

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