Hollywood icons and the Second World War

Some Hollywood legends actually participated in the reality of war, rather than merely on celluloid

Hollywood icons and the Second World WarIf you’re like me, the most vivid combat images you have of the Second World War come from Hollywood movies. Whether it was John Wayne on Iwo Jima or Errol Flynn in Burma, heroism was very much the order of the day. And Americans were invariably at the centre of the action. Naturally, the historical…

Canada’s Fenian years featured some interesting personalities

A plotter, a spy with an overactive libido and a three-time attempted invader all called themselves Fenians

Canada’s Fenian years featured some interesting personalitiesHistorian David A. Wilson’s new book is Canadian Spy Story: Irish Revolutionaries and the Secret Police. It recounts a mid-19th-century episode where Irish revolutionaries – known as Fenians – tried to use Canada as a pawn in their struggle for Irish independence. Last week’s column looked at the Fenian attempts to invade Canada and hold…

Four critical things to know about critical race theory

Why an academic theory that dates back to the 1970s has become a political lightning rod today

Four critical things to know about critical race theoryIn April of this year, Georgia became the latest of 15 American states to ban the teaching of critical race theory in schools. In celebrating a similar ban in Mississippi, Republican Gov. Tate Reeves recorded a video in which he claimed, without evidence, that school children had been “dragged to the front of the classroom and coerced…

Some ‘Christians’ deserve our anger and contempt

But filtering our anger through our spirituality becomes a powerful force for good

Some ‘Christians’ deserve our anger and contemptAnger can be a powerful force for good. It can also be extremely destructive, both to ourselves and the world around us. The key is to understand the anger within and to direct it in a way that will bring about positive change. Anger comes from a place of fear. We know deep inside that…

Grad brings new perspective on Indigenous history to museum work

Native studies, environmental science grad Lauren Comba now better able to respect Indigenous stories

Grad brings new perspective on Indigenous history to museum workWatching the Inuit film Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner several years ago, Lauren Comba found herself riveted by its ancient story. Written, directed and acted entirely in the Inuktitut language, the 2001 landmark award-winning film retells an Inuit legend passed down through centuries of oral tradition. The film’s narrative was a part of history Comba had never heard…

Fenians used Canada as an Irish revolutionary pawn

There were five failed armed Fenian incursions into Canada between 1866 and 1871

Fenians used Canada as an Irish revolutionary pawnUniversity of Toronto historian David A. Wilson has an interesting new book called Canadian Spy Story: Irish Revolutionaries and the Secret Police. It’s a detailed examination of a mid-19th-century episode that had the potential to turn Canadian history upside down. And Wilson makes a credible case that the danger wasn’t entirely farfetched. Following the conclusion…

Reproductive control of Indigenous women continues around the world

Survivors of forced sterilization and coerced contraception meet with researchers to share stories

Reproductive control of Indigenous women continues around the worldSurvivors of forced sterilization and coerced contraception from Canada, Peru and Indonesia will gather with academic researchers at a summit in Edmonton this summer to share stories, heal through art and ceremony, and set an agenda for change. The full extent of reproductive control practices around the world is not known, but they have been…

Hereditary empires and the struggle with modernity

Hereditary dynasties could not survive the industrial revolution. Well, except for one

Hereditary empires and the struggle with modernityLast week’s column drew from British historian Dominic Lieven’s current book about emperors and empires. Called In the Shadow of the Gods, it’s an exploration of the characteristics that contributed to dynastic success or failure. Lieven’s penultimate chapter deals with the challenges modernity posed to hereditary dynasties. As the environment changed rapidly, the crowns adorning…

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?

More than 100 years after H.G. Wells forecast big changes in the world order, the tide is turning

Are we seeing the destruction of democratic capitalism?Democratic capitalism is a remarkably empowering and wealth-generating structure. Although wealth is not a zero-sum game, power may well be. In his 2011 book The Fruits of Graft: Great Depressions Then and Now, Wayne Jett explores how certain elitists have actively sought to undermine the masses and usurp political and economic power for themselves. In H.G.…

How empires grab and hold on to power

Being recognized as divinely anointed didn’t guarantee acquiescence, but it was still a huge asset

How empires grab and hold on to powerDominic Lieven is a British historian who has written extensively on European, particularly Russian, history. His latest book, In the Shadow of the Gods, is about emperors and empires. It examines their historical scope and the characteristics that contributed to dynastic success or failure. At over 400 densely written pages (excluding notes), the book is…
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