Thursday, August 30, 2018

History books for the fall, part 1: UT Press

The University of Toronto Press Fall-Winter Catalogue list some intriguing new works in Canadian history.

Carl Benn presents A Mohawk Memoir from the War of 1812, based on the 1815-16 memoir of Teyoninhokarawen, or John Norton, who participated in most of the major and many minor engagements of the Upper Canadian War of 1812.  (November)

Peter Price offers  Questions of Order: Confederation and the Making of Modern Canada, which from the description emphasizes how confederation changed ideas of the British Empire and Canada's place in it. (November)

Jim Phillips, Philip Girard and Blake Brown are bringing out the first volume of their ambitious History of Law in Canada. This one is Beginnings to 1866 (October)

Legal historian Robert Sharpe moonlights as a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal, and his new book Good Judgment: Making Judicial Decisions (October) is an inside look at how judges judge.

Tyler Wentzall's Not For King and Country is a biography of Edward Cecil-Smith, Cbina missions kid, journalist, and Communist party activist in 1930s Toronto who was among the first to volunteer for service in the Spanish Civil War and ended up a commander of the Mackenzie-Papineau Battalion. (October).

UTP has more, including several paperback reissues, a cluster of First World War histories, and several works in indigenous studies and land-and-title issues,  For deets, browse the calendar.

We'll try and look at the other major publishers of Canadian history in upcoming posts.

Catching up with the Canadian Historical Review (Summer 2018), I was disappointed to see Peter Russell's Canada's Odyssey, a rich and imaginative rethinking of Canadian constitutional history, get a blinkered, niggling review that chases after trivial errors and dismisses as worthless Russell's path-breaking integration of indigenous constitutional ideas and aspiration.  Of the aboriginal plan during the War of 1812 to create an indigenous nation south of the Great lakes, the reviewer writes:
the British only considered giving their Aboriginal allies land that was not theirs to give; they had already ceded it to the Americans in 1783.
But if the British had given it to the Americans, who gave it to the British?  The French, I guess.  And who gave it to them?  God, maybe, and no doubt God was bequeathed it from his rich uncle. It really is turtles all the way down. With this kind of ancestor-worship still passing for scholarship, it will take more than a few statue removals to achieve anything like reconciliation.

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