Cover: Building a Special Relationship: Canada-US Relations in the Eisenhower Era, 1953–61, by Asa McKercher & Michael D. Stevenson. Photo: a 1960s-era black-and-white television showing five white men in suits laughing together.
334 pages, 6 x 9
Release Date:01 Jun 2024

Building a Special Relationship

Canada-US Relations in the Eisenhower Era, 1953–61

UBC Press

Building a Special Relationship is also available as an open access PDF. Use the button on the left, or visit the special open access page, to download.

Building a Special Relationship examines an under-appreciated time in foreign relations between the United States and Canada during the 1950s, when North American officials formed a culture of bilateral cooperation under the shadow of a growing Cold War.

This work asserts that the Eisenhower era was critical to the evolution of diplomatic dealings between Canada and America. Under President Eisenhower and Prime Ministers St. Laurent and Diefenbaker, policy makers collaborating in Ottawa and Washington achieved what authors Asa McKercher and Michael D. Stevenson deem to be "tolerant accommodation" on significant issues of the day. Despite often disagreeing on their path forward but by embracing shared political ideologies and goals, both nations found common ground on matters such as defence, foreign policy, economic growth, and natural resource management.

Building a Special Relationship is a significant contribution to the scholarly understanding of Canadian diplomacy during a formative era for Ottawa. Drawing on a wide array of archival sources, this book presents a vital new interpretation of how North American diplomacy in the Eisenhower years continues to influence what is often characterized as the "special relationship" between Canada and the United States.

Historians, scholars, and readers of diplomacy, political history, and international relations will find keen new insights in Building a Special Relationship’s analysis of an integral period in North American history.

This path-breaking survey of Canada-US relations during the Eisenhower administration convincingly shows that the past was not mere prelude but foundational to the shape and successes of Canada’s relations with its main ally and trade and diplomatic partner. Despite challenges stemming from differing approaches to the Cold War, the two countries enjoyed harmony due to both personalities and effective bilateral institutions. This work should redefine our understanding of Canada-US relations. David Webster, History and Global Studies Department, Bishop’s University
Building a Special Relationship is a highly readable, extremely knowledgeable accumulation of the histories of US-Canadian relations during the Eisenhower era. It will prove to be extremely useful. Petra Dolata, Department of History, University of Calgary

Asa McKercher is associate professor in the Public Policy and Governance Program at St. Francis Xavier University, a senior fellow of the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History, and a fellow at Queen’s Centre for International and Defence Policy. He is editor-in-chief of International Journal, Canada's journal of global policy analysis. His books include Canada and the World since 1867 and Camelot and Canada: Canadian-American Relations in the Kennedy Era, as well as the edited collections North of America: Canadians and the American Century, 1945–60, Undiplomatic History: Rethinking Canada in the World and Mike's World: Lester B. Pearson and Canadian External Affairs. Michael D. Stevenson is a professor in the Department of History at Lakehead University. He is the author of Canada’s Greatest Wartime Muddle: National Selective Service and the Mobilization of Human Resources during World War II and editor of the 1957–58 volumes of Documents on Canadian External Relations.

Find what you’re looking for...
Stay Informed

Receive the latest UBC Press news, including events, catalogues, and announcements.

Read past newsletters

Free shipping on online orders over $40

Publishers Represented
UBC Press is the Canadian agent for several international publishers. Visit our Publishers Represented page to learn more.