Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

October 2015

October 31, 2015

The newest issue of Geist magazine (#98) is reaching the newsstands. My regular column looks at a new book by historian Christopher Moore, Three Weeks in Quebec City (Allen Lane), about the Quebec Conference of 1864.

The conference drew up the 72 resolutions that led to the creation of Canada three years later.

For me, the takeaway from Moore's fine book is that Canada was not born on the battlefields...

October 22, 2015


A true British Columbia original has died. Frank White, author, logger, trucker, etc., etc. passed away at his home in Madeira Park a few days ago, age 101. Condolences to his widow, Edith Iglauer, and all the rest of his family.

For details of Frank's life, consult the Harbour Publishing website...

October 20, 2015

"It was not the destruction that excited me but the sense of something utterly new coming into being, some fresh, immense possibility of political life, a new community of hope, and above all the strangely inspired note -- like a new language -- that sounded in the voices of those who were witnessing it. It was a glimpse of 'the dream come true', the golden age, the promised land."

While waiting for the polls to close yesterday I was reading Richard Holmes, the British biographer, and...

October 5, 2015

Several years ago, in Geist magazine, I wrote a column about a pair of books on Acadian history, one of them by the Montreal historian Ronald Rudin. Just recently I've become aware of another project directed by Rudin, a website called Lost Stories. The project seeks out little-known stories from Canadian history and then commemorates them with "...

October 1, 2015

There is a very disturbing and depressing article about the federal election on The Guardian website today. Is this really the way we want the world to see us, as a country consumed by intolerance and paranoia?

Historians like to draw parallels. I see a lot of similarities between our present political discourse and the Red Scare of 1919 (about which, of course...