Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Clio's Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Clio's Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars

Article excerpt

Tim Cook, Clio's Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2006), ix + 326pp. Cased. $85. ISBN 978-0-7748-1256-6. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-7748-1257-3.

In this meticulously researched and carefully argued book Cook examines how the history of Canada's participation in the World Wars was recorded and how this vast archives was analysed by Canada's official historians. Sir Max Aitken recognised the need to gather war records during the First World War. The job of writing up that story fell upon Thomas Duguid, Canada's first official historian, but Duguid was defeated by the sheer volume of the materials and was only able to produce one volume of a projected eightvolume history. The responsibility for collecting the records and writing the story of Canada's participation in the Second World War fell upon Charles P. Stacey. From the beginning Stacey insisted that he would not be hampered - as Duguid had been - by any form of censorship and he recruited an impressive team of academic historians who produced a series of impressive official histories of Canada's war effort. Stacey was essentially a 'headquarters historian' whose sympathies lay with the 'great men' who commanded the Canadian forces rather than with the common soldier and he pulled too many punches in assessing the faults of the Canadian high command. Nonetheless, Cook concludes that, despite their flaws, the official histories still rank as 'among the finest historical works ever produced in this country' (pp. 198-99).

Stacey's focus was upon the army, and in the last chapter of the book Cook examines the official histories of the Canadian navy and the air force. …

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