Jack MacCormac:

"Accustomed to the Unaccustomed"

When I first set out to write The Angel Makers, there was going to be a lot more Jazz Age journalism, and therefore a lot more of Jack MacCormac.

I ended up going another way with it, but Jack was a fascinating man and it was hard not to write about him.

In so many ways, he was like attorney Kronberg. Erudite. Driven. Highly intelligent. Both had to see far too much war in their lives. Yet, whereas Kronberg had it thrust upon him, MacCormac volunteered to jump into the thick of it as a reporter during both World Wars. 

His niece, Mollie, told me “ Uncle Jack had one of those sacs that were used during WWI to relay his articles or secrets over enemy lines using special balloons. The hope was that the Germans wouldn't shoot down all balloons.” 

I see him as a young reporter. Just turned 26. Newly-minted as a 2nd lieutenant in the Heavy Artillery R.D. (Canada), reporting from the front lines.

Paul Lendvai, the Mike Wallace of Austrian TV and once MacCormac's protege, said "for me, he was a symbol of what is best in journalism.”

Also, he adored animals--which for me, ranks him way up there.

He adored his wife, (also top rank).

He made the best martinis in the Danube Valley (see top rank, above).

He was despised by Nicholas Roosevelt, the persnickety American Envoy (1930) in Budapest. No doubt, this was a badge of honor for him.


MacCormac's war sac is now in the collection of the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa.