Friday, December 07, 2012

This Month in Canada's History mag

Speaking of Canada's History Society, the new December-January issue of its publication, The Beaver Canada's History Magazine, is now in your mailbox or on your magazine outlet's racks.  Continuing the War of 1812 series, this issue looks at, well, the title says "Who Won?" but the story mostly emphasizes who really lost big.

Nice Christmas idea: give someone a subscription. I've done it myself, and it works.  Subscription info here.

My own column this month celebrates Peter Waite, who published his first big book, The Life and Times of Confederation, in 1962, and his most recent, In Search of R.B. Bennett in 2012 -- just fifty years later.  Is this a record?

A little bit from the article on professorial life in the 1950s:

In the 1950s Professor Waite felt less pressure to publish a book based on his doctoral thesis than today’s aspiring professors do. “George Wilson [his department head] said to me, ‘I don’t want you rushing to write that thesis of yours into a book. I want you to travel in Europe.’  I was teaching ‘Plato to NATO,’ of course. So I spent my summers walking in Europe.”
And one of my favourite descriptions of historical work: Waite describing the research for Life and Times
In a brief memoir of that project, Waite vividly evoked what keeps a historian with a big topic going. “What was overwhelming was the exhilaration of it. One was driven to the newspapers, to the Parliamentary Library, to the St John’s library, to the hot little sheds on Pinnacle Street, Belleville, Ontario, not by the exigencies of a Ph.D., but by adrenalin.”
'Course if you had already filled in that subscription form, you would have this already. 
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