From Vimy to the Arctic

Canadian history well-represented among spring 2017 book award finalists.

Written by Phil Koch

Posted April 24, 2017

Books on Indigenous history, the Battle of Vimy Ridge and Arctic sovereignty are among dozens of Canadian history titles to be honoured by national and regional prizes this spring.

Arthur J. Ray’s Aboriginal Rights Claims and the Making and Remaking of History has won the Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences while being named a finalist for the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Book on British Columbia. The Canada Prize jury said Ray’s book “illustrates the profound discord between historical evidence based on robust oral traditions and that grounded in the documentary records of European societies.”

Ronald W. Hawker’s Yakuglas’ Legacy: The Art and Times of Charlie James was also a finalist for the Basil Stuart-Stubbs Prize, while three other history titles were finalists for the Canada Prize: Donald Wright’s Donald Creighton: A Life in History; Emilie Cameron’s Far Off Metal River: Inuit Lands, Settler Stories, and the Making of the Contemporary Arctic; and From New Peoples to New Nations: Aspects of Métis History and Identity from the Eighteenth to Twenty-First Centuries, by Gerhard J. Ens and Joseph Sawchuk.

The 2017 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize for the best book on Canada, Canadians, or Canada’s place in the world has been awarded to Lock, Stock, and Icebergs: A History of Canada’s Arctic Maritime Sovereignty, by Adam Lajeunesse. The jury described the winning book as “thorough, judicious and absorbing.” Lajeunesse won over other Canadian history finalists Robert Wright, for Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau; John Boyko, for Cold Fire: Kennedy’s Northern Front; and Asa McKercher, for Camelot and Canada: Canadian-American Relations in the Kennedy Era.

The Vimy Trap: or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War, by Ian McKay and Jamie Swift, is a finalist for both the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the Sir John A. Macdonald Prize for the best non-fiction work of Canadian history. The winners of both prizes will be announced later this spring.

Other Macdonald Prize finalists are Imperial Plots: Women, Land, and the Spadework of British Colonialism on the Canadian Prairies, by Sarah Carter; A Place in the Sun: Haiti, Haitians, and the Remaking of Québec, by Sean Mills; Colonial Relations: The Douglas-Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World, by Adele Perry; and Kouchibouguac: Removal, Resistance, and Remembrance at a Canadian National Park, by Ronald Rudin.

Meanwhile, Marc Raboy’s Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World was on both the long list for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and the short list for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize for excellence in literary non-fiction.

Canadian history titles are also well-represented at this year’s regional book prizes. Here’s a selection of finalists for regional awards:

Atlantic Book Awards

Manitoba Book Awards

Saskatchewan Book Awards

BC Book Prizes

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