The Fight for History

The Fight for History

By Tim Cook

Publisher's Notes

The Second World War shaped modern Canada. It led to the country's emergence as a middle power on the world stage; the rise of the welfare state; industrialization, urbanization, and population growth. After the war, Canada increasingly turned toward the United States in matters of trade, security, and popular culture, which then sparked a desire to strengthen Canadian nationalism from the threat of American hegemony.

The Fight for History examines how Canadians framed and reframed the war experience over time. Just as the importance of the battle of Vimy Ridge to Canadians rose, fell, and rose again over a 100-year period, the meaning of Canada's Second World War followed a similar pattern. But the Second World War's relevance to Canada led to conflict between veterans and others in society--more so than in the previous war--as well as a more rapid diminishment of its significance.

The Fight for History is about the efforts to restore a more balanced portrait of Canada's contribution in the global conflict. This is the story of how Canada has talked about the war in the past, how we tried to bury it, and how it was restored. This is the history of a constellation of changing ideas, with many historical twists and turns, and a series of fascinating actors and events.

Tim Cook is Chief Historian and Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum. His bestselling books have won multiple awards, including three Ottawa Book prizes for Literary Non-Fiction and two C.P. Stacey Awards for the best book in Canadian military history.

Melany Franklin with her book choice: The Fight for History

The Reader/Champion

Melany Franklin will read The Fight for History by Tim Cook. As a lawyer and workplace mediator, Melany brings a special understanding of conflicts and their resolutions. She will represent The Town of Blue Mountains.


The Canadian historian, Tim Cook, had already written a celebrated two-volume history of the Second World War when he suddenly realized he wasn’t finished. There was still a very important Canadian story to be told—one that had never been written before. The Fight for History is that story.

As the sub-title 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War promises, Cook sets out to show how history is made and unmade and ultimately remade. He wants to understand, and have us understand, why the telling of Canada’s Second World War has been so complicated. Cook brings his considerable skills to the task. He is an historian at the Canadian War Museum. His eleven books have won many awards, including the J.W. Dafoe Prize and the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Cook has also received the Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian History.

Cook depicts Second World War history as a contested space, with uniquely Canadian experiences strangely absent. This despite Canada’s astounding commitment to Allied victory at the time, with 1 in 10 Canadians (1 in every 3 men) having served in the war.

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