Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative

History Wars

Dec 13, 2023

In the November issue of the Literary Review of Canada, under the guise of revisiting Jack Granatstein's 1998 polemic, Who Killed Canadian History, Patrice Dutil writes a lament about the state of Canadian history today.

I didn't like Granatstein's book when it appeared 25 years ago and I don't much like Dutil's recycling of some of the same arguments. But instead of going on about it myself I will refer you to Chris Moore's blog where he and Dutil have a bit of a back and forth about the article and the state of Canadian historical studies. It is an interesting exchange.

Neither of them mention an important book titled Canadians and Their Pasts published in 2013 by a group of leading historians. I would have thought that this study more or less scuttled the argument that one hears time and time again about how Canadians don't care about their own history, don't learn any of it in school, don't know as much as the Americans, yadda, yadda yadda. (I wrote about the book here.)