Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


August 19, 2014


When I worked as a clerk in a book shop back in the day, the best part of the job was opening the boxes of new books when they arrived at the store. The smell, the feel, the pleasure of piling them onto the shelves; it was the most satisfaction I've ever had from a "real" job.

This morning I got to experience a bit of the same frisson when I opened the envelope from...

August 10, 2014

There has been some comment about the relatively modest way that our federal government commemorated the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One last week, especially given the prime minister's penchant for the militarization of our history.

Let me recommend a commentary by my friend Christopher Moore at his website. Chris speculates that the feds are planning to...

July 30, 2014


A memento of a recent visit to the beaches of Vancouver Island, this portrait of yours truly on abalone shell was drawn by the grandkids. A remarkable likeness.

July 28, 2014

Next Monday, August 4, will mark the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War One. On that day in 1914 Britain's ultimatum to Germany to get its troops out of Belgium expired and the British Empire, including Canada, went to war.

The clergyman Charles Gordon (who was better known under his pen name as the popular novelist Ralph Connor) left an evocative account of the last days of peace in his memoir Postscript to Adventure. At the end of July Gordon was camping with...

July 12, 2014

My new book, Closing Time, is safely in the hands of the printer and is due to appear from Douglas & McIntyre this fall. Here is the cover.


It is an illustrated history of prohibition in Canada, from the temperance movements of the nineteenth century to the...