Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Yet another reason to want to be in Ottawa this week

On Thursday, October 28, at 6:30 pm, UBC press and the Canadian War Museum are presenting what is styled as a 'debate' among four military historians at the Barney Danson Theatre, 1 Vimy Place, Ottawa.

Says the UBC press:

Four authors and four very different books on Canadian military history reveal how writing about the past is inevitably shaped by trends and resources in the present. What defines military history? How should it be recorded? How has it changed? What stories remain untold?

These are a few of the engaging and provocative questions moderator Michael Petrou, senior writer and foreign correspondent with Maclean’s magazine, will explore with four of Canada’s best minds in the field.

Serge Durflinger (Veterans with a Vision: Canada's War Blinded in Peace and War),

James Fergusson (Canada and the Ballistic Missile Defence, 1954-2009: Déjà vu All over Again),

Benjamin Isitt (From Victoria to Vladivostok: Canada's Siberian Expedition, 1917-19),

James Wood (Milita Myths: Ideas of the Canadian Citizen Soldier, 1896-1921) (pictured above)

Now there are lots of things which can be argued about, and have notoriously been argued about, in Canadian military history, as the Canadian War Museum knows to its sorrow. But I wouldn't have thought that these questions, while undoubtedly "engaging", especially to the cognoscenti, are necessarily "provocative." I would have thought that the addition of Jack Granatstein to the panel would be necessary for that. But then, I haven't read the books (though they look interesting. Especially the Wood book, but that may just be my personal bias talking.)

It doesn't sound as though the event is going to be recorded. It should be; if not for the CBC then for the museum's website. And as a further kvetch: what's up with the very uninviting design of the Canadian War Museum website?
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