Lord Beaverbrook (Dictionary of World Biography: Twentieth Century)
Article abstract: Beaverbrook created the most successful newspaper empire of his day and, in World War II, as minister of aircraft production, was greatly responsible for the victory in the Battle of Britain.
William Maxwell Aitken was born May 25, 1879, in Maple, Ontario, Canada, where his father was a Presbyterian minister, but the family soon moved to Newcastle, New Brunswick, where young Max grew up. His father, William Cuthbert Aitken, had emigrated from Scotland to pursue a ministerial career, and his mother, Jane Noble, Canadian by birth but also of Scottish ancestry, was the daughter of a storekeeper. Although later in life Aitken referred to his relatively poor background, in fact it was comfortably middle-class. He was the third of ten children. His was a happy childhood and Aitken early developed a reputation for mischief, something he kept throughout his life. He attended a local school but failed the Latin portion of his college entrance examinations and instead chose the law for a career.
It was business and finance, however, which brought Aitken his fortune. The early twentieth century was a period of economic expansion in Canada, and Aitken became successful in taking over companies, combining them with others, and using the profits to invest again and again. He soon had economic interests not only in Canada but also in the West Indies and was a millionaire before his thirtieth...
(The entire section is 2507 words.)
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