The Nuclear North

Histories of Canada in the Atomic Age

Reviewed by Brooke Campbell

Posted July 8, 2022

Despite not having a nuclear-weapons program of its own, Canada is — and long has been — an atomic state. From providing an early supply of uranium, to forming defence relationships and alliances with other nuclear states, to building up a domestic nuclear-energy system, Canada has a complex nuclear history. Yet the country’s identity as a nuclear state has often been obscured.

In their essays, the contributors to The Nuclear North discuss the extent of Canada’s role in shaping the atomic age. Bringing together topics that include science and technology, international relations, eonomics and trade, and others, the writers explore the history and implications of Canada’s nuclear policies and strategies, both at home and abroad.

Edited by historins Susan Colbourn and Timothy Andrews Sayle, The Nuclear North is an important study of the country’s nuclear history. Their book helps to reveal the complex and often contradictory ways Canadians have navigated the atomic age. 

This collection will be a valuable resource for scholarship to come. In her introduction, Colbourn writes that she hopes she will inspire others “to tell more entangled histories of Canada as a nuclear nation, how Canadians participated in the global nuclear order, and how the atomic age haped the country.”

Buy this book at Chapters-Indigo

This article originally appeared in the August-September 2022 issue of Canada’s History magazine. 

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