Daniel Francis

Reading the National Narrative


April 29, 2014

Microhistory has been on my mind lately, probably because I've been reading Charlotte Gray's The Massey Murder about the shooting of a member of the prominent Massey family by a young housemaid in Toronto in 1915. Gray's book is a recent Canadian example of the microhistory genre.

Broadly defined, microhistory is the study of small events and/or "minor" historical characters and...

April 17, 2014


If you happen to be in Vancouver on Tuesday, May 6, come on down to the public library, downtown branch, for the launch of George Fetherling's memoir, Travels by Night (Quattro Books).

First published in 1994, the book is a Canadian classic and George has republished a 20th-anniversary edition, expanded and revised.

I'll be on stage as...

April 8, 2014


Like the first flowers of spring, the latest issue of Geist magazine (#92) arrived this morning. It includes my column about James Daschuk's disturbing history of post-Confederation government policy toward the First Nations of the Prairie West.

"As the federal government of Canada ramps up celebrations for the looming sesquicentennial of Confederation in 2017, we do well to remind ourselves that not everyone thinks there is all...

April 4, 2014


Still not bored with the never-resolved debate between the academic historians and the popularizers? Then check out this defence of the academicians. "It's not all about making the bestseller list." Hear, hear.

The links will take you to some of the latest arguments from the other side of the question as well.



April 3, 2014


Last week I attended a lecture at the Vancouver Public Library by Margaret MacMillan about her latest book on World War One, The War That Ended Peace. Professor MacMillan gives a very polished performance. She carried a sheaf of papers but as far as I could tell hardly had to consult them as she ran us through a brisk outline of her book, which is about the causes of the war...