Monday, March 30, 2009

Jonathan Vance Superstar

There's a long and praiseful review of Jonathan Vance's new book A History of Canadian Culture in The Globe & Mail. First I'd heard of it, actually.

Jonathan Vance came to attention, I think, with Death So Noble, a much admired book not so much about the First World War as about the memory of the First World War. His University of Western Ontario history department website says his interests are "Canadian military and cultural history, war and society in the 20th century, and social memory." But he's growing in scope and ambition, it seems.

A few years ago he tackled aviation's place in the Canadian imagination. Recently he wrote about two Canadian intelligence officers killed in the Second World War. Now comes a big ambitious book on the history of Canadian culture.

This is good. Young (historians can be young a lot time!) and prolific history profs with the tools and the ambition to take on subjects the world might notice and to write well and interestingly about them -- Canadian history could use a few of those. Now Jonathan Vance moves into that territory. We could use more. (Tim Cook comes to mind.)
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