Museum Chat Live! E606 – In Conversation with Tim Cook, Historian and Author


As we move into November, this is the month where we take time to think about Remembrance Day, poppies and the service of our veterans past and present.

On this episode of Museum Chat Live! We are thrilled to be joined by Dr. Tim Cook, who is a historian at the Canadian War Museum and author of 11 books on Canadian Military History in the 20th Century.

In this interview with Tim Cook, our Curator, Kathleen Powell talks to him about his new book – The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War.

More about the Book:

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.

By the end of the 20th century, Canada’s war effort was depicted as a series of disasters. Whether it was the defeats at Hong Kong and Dieppe or the racially driven policy of the forced relocation of Japanese-Canadians, many historians and much of the media seemed to dwell on failure. There was little discussion of Canada’s crucial role in the Battle of the Atlantic, the air war against Germany, or the success of its armies in Italy. No other Allied nation so bizarrely remade its victories into defeats.

The Fight for History superbly draws a balanced portrait of Canada’s part in the global conflict. It is the story of how Canada remembered the war, how we tried to bury it and how its importance was restored.


Listen and subscribe on iTunes, SoundCloudGoogle Podcasts, and Spotify (STCM Podcasts).

The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering and Remaking Canada’s Second World War is available in hardcover, e-book and audio book.

About the Author:

Tim Cook is an historian at the Canadian War Museum. His eleven books have won many awards, including the J.W. Dafoe Prize for At the Sharp End (2008) and for Vimy: The Battle and the Legend (2018). Shock Troops won the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. In 2013, he received the Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history. He is also the two-time winner of the C.P. Stacey Prize for the most distinguished book in Canadian military history and a three-time winner of the Ottawa Book Award. For his contributions to Canadian history, he has been named a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada.

Other books by Tim Cook:

The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars Of Sam Hughes And General Arthur Currie. Penguin Canada, 2010.
No Place to Run: The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War. UBC Press, 2011
Clio’s Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars. UBC Press, 2011.
Warlords: Borden Mackenzie King And Canada’s World Wars. Penguin Canada, 2012.
The Necessary War. Penguin Canada, 2014.
Fight to the Finish: Canadians in the Second World War, 1944-1945. Penguin Canada, 2015
At the Sharp End Volume One: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1914-1916. Penguin Canada, 2016.
Shock Troops Volume Two: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1914-1916. Penguin Canada, 2016.
Vimy: The Battle and the Legend. Penguin Canada, 2017.
The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War. Penguin Canada, 2018.
The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering, and Remaking Canada’s Second World War. Allen Lane, 2020.

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