A new book by two Kingston linked writers argues that the way Canada remembers World War I is a toxic form of Anglo-Canadian nationalism. This “Vimyism” has taken root in the past few decades.
Blending sharp-eyed journalism and scholarly insight, The Vimy Trap: or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War explodes the myth that WW I was the birth of the nation, boosting Canadian independence and bringing the country together.
“Vimyism has become the Official Story,” says Jamie Swift, author of a dozen other books on Canadian history and politics. “Claiming that WW I was anything but a futile disaster is a lie of Trumpian proportions.”
Swift’s co-author is eminent historian Ian McKay, formerly of Queen’s and winner of several prizes for his groundbreaking scholarship.
The Vimy Trap poses hard questions. Was the Great War a futile imperial debacle? A proud, nation-building milestone? The Vimy Trap is a powerful probe of commemoration cultures. This subtle, fast-paced work of public history explains both how and why peace and war remain contested terrain in the landscapes of Canadian memory.
“The Vimy Trap is a long overdue rebuttal to the excessively patriotic prose fed to us by the usual Drums & Bugles brigade of historians,” says former infantryman Scott Taylor, veteran war correspondent and publisher of Esprit de Corps magazine.
Come to the book launch on Monday, November 28 at 7 p.m. in the Rehearsal Hall at the Tett Centre, 370 King St. West. The authors will speak about their book.
The Great War era will be evoked by music of the time played on an authentic 1906 cylinder phonograph. Guests can mingle while learning about the Vimy Ridge battle and commemoration culture.