Freethinker | Soldier Culture | Viking Hoax | Wartime Election | History Top Sellers

From Canada’s History magazine.


“A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” — C.S. Lewis
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Canada's History Reading Den

Cover of FreethinkerNot so quiet

In the August-September issue of Canada’s Historymagazine, former Ontario premier Bob Rae reviews Unbuttoned: A History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life, by Christopher Dummitt. Rae notes that prime minister “William Lyon Mackenzie King never intended that his daily log would become a public document,” but it was nonetheless saved by the executors of his will. Regarding Unbuttoned, Rae says, “Dummitt has written a fascinating book on the Mackenzie King diaries, and in doing so he has also provided much insight into King and the history of his reputation.”

In the same issue, history professor Graham Broad reviews Embattled Nation: Canada’s Wartome Election of 1917, by Patrice Dutil and David MacKenzie. Broad writes that the authors “take pains to situate the political failings of Prime Minister Robert Borden and aging Opposition leader Wilfrid Laurier in the context of the era’s complex questions of language, national identity, and war.”

Meanwhile, award-winning author Ryan O’Connor tells about Freethinker: The Life and Works of Éva Circé-Côté, by Andrée Lévesque. O’Connor says the book originally published in French in 2010 is important in part because, besides being a librarian, poet, and journalist, Circé-Côté was one of the overshadowed intellectual predecessors to Quebec’s Quiet Revolution. “She was deeply concerned about the survival of her people’s language and culture, but this did not make her a separatist,” because, O’Connor writes, “she feared an even greater concentration of power in the hands of the clergy should Quebec leave Canada.”

Among our shorter More Books items, we consider two books on the history of Indigenous rights in Canada —Price Paid: The Fight for First Nations Survival, by Bev Sellars, and Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History, by Arthur J. Ray — as well as Darryl Raymaker’s Trudeau’s Tango: Alberta Meets Pierre Elliott Trudeau, 1968–1972and Madelyn Holmes’ Working for the Common Good: Canadian Women Politicians.

You can read our reviews both in the Canada’s Historymagazine and on our CanadasHistory.ca website.

Down time

Also in the August-September issue, we speak with military historian Tim Cook, author of The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War. Cook says his new book looks at how soldiers spent their free time while coping with the difficulties of the First World War. “The use of culture as a shield, the creation of a unique soldier society to cope and endure, is not part of the official record,” Cook said. You can read a longer version of the interview on our CanadasHistory.ca website.

Cover of BeardmoreBelieve it or not

Recipients of the Reading Den are automatically entered to win one of three copies of Douglas Hunter’s new book, Beardmore: The Viking Hoax That Rewrote History, courtesy of McGill-Queen’s University Press.

Westray: My Journey from Darkness to Light
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Top 10 Bestsellers

  1. Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths
  2. Art Deco Architecture Across Canada
  3. Mapmaker: Philip Turnor in Rupert’s Land
  4. Travellers through Empire: Indigenous Voyages
  5. The Endless Battle: The Fall of Hong Kong
  6. Ingenious: Canadian Innovators
  7. Canada’s Dream Shall Be of Them
  8. The Raftsmen
  9. Nova Scotia’s Lost Communities
  10. The Whisky King: Canada’s Most Infamous Bootlegger
Cover of August-September 2018 issue - The Dust Bowl
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Book Giveaway Winners

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  • Lanson and Karen H.
  • David G.
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