Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What have the historians got for us this fall? -- Cont'd

No Charlotte Gray, no Ken McGooghan this fall, and no Pierre Berton evermore. Fewer Canadian publishers, and a less nationalist mood in the land and the industry generally. Canadian history is not huge in the trade book fall lists this year.

The biggest title this fall must be Richard Gwyn's Nation-Maker, the second volume of his life of John A. Macdonald, from Random House Canada.  With two volumes entitled The Man who Made Us and Nation-Maker, it's clearer than ever that Gwyn is doubling down on the Creighton thesis. But sixty plus years on, at least there is a new biography!

Political biography is on a tear in recent years, even as the total volume seems to shrink  Winnipeg's Allan Levine offers William Lyon Mackenzie King from Douglas & McIntyre. As we earlier noted there's David Wilson's second volume on D'Arcy McGee, Peter Waite on R.B. Bennett and Paul Litt on John Turner..

There's a historical autobiography to look forward to, as well:  Michael Bliss's Writing History: A Professor's Life (from Dundurn).


  • Jonathan Vance Maple Leaf Empire: Canada and Britain in Two World Wars  (Oxford University Press) -- timely, given the prime minister's ready-aye-ready enthusiasm for pukka British royal gewgaws for the forces.
  • Chuck Davis's History of Metropolitan Vancouver (Harbour Books) from the late and much loved teller of  west coast heritage.
  • Dirk Septer, Lost Nuke: The Last Flight of Bomber 075 (Heritage House), about a crashed bomber in the BC mountains -- a book with its own National Geographic special, and
  • from Canada's History magazine, a new photohistory, One Hundred Days that Changed Canada  (HarperCollins)-- to which I have contributed a few items.
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