Award-winning author Donald Creighton was a Red Ensign nationalist and firm supporter of the British Empire. At the time of writing this book, in 1970, he had come to believe that Canada was a lost cause. When everyone else was celebrating Canada's centennial, he was busy writing his own lament for a nation. Canada's First Century paints a large and complex canvas of historical rise and fall: a great transcontinental nation is built, but it is eventually undone as Canada turns its back on the British Empire and embraces a continental role alongside the United States. A courageous and contentious book for its day - Creighton is intensely anti-American and highly critical of Quebec nationalism - it was met with criticism, but, as Donald Wright points out, Canada's First Century initially outsold Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex and, for a time, even the Bible.
A beautifully written, in-depth introduction by Donald Wright explores Creighton's larger understanding of Canadian history, his preoccupation with Canada's role in the Empire, and his major contribution to economics and geography as a key feature of history.
Donald Creighton (1902-1979) was English Canada's leading historian. A member of the University of Toronto's Department of History, Creighton wrote a dozen books including The Commercial Empire of the St Lawrence, the two-volume biography of Sir John A. Macdonald, and The Road to Confederation. For his outstanding contributions to Canada's intellectual life, he received many awards and honours, including the Tyrrell Medal, the Governor General's Award, the Molson Prize, and honorary degrees from universities across the country. He was a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Companion of the Order of Canada.
". . . a short comprehensive account of political events which marked the years from 1867 to 1967 accompanied by brilliant sketches of the men who shaped them and made Canada what it is today. . . . It is written with all the clarity and force we have come to expect from Donald Creighton and with the conviction and wit which make his books a delight to read." --Queen's Quarterly
"A fascinating read."
--The Canadian Book Review
"Creighton can invest the smallest detail with urgent life. He knows what he is talking about more than any other historian in this country. Above all he loves Canada." --Financial Post
". . . his writing has the keen edge and the hard temper of a man who has seen a great deal of Canada, of Canada's history and of Canada's politicians and has something to say about all three." 00Dalhousie Review
"[Creighton was] a powerfully influential and controversial historian, a leading scholar and author who strongly affected this country's awareness of its past. . . . His career was pre-eminently important to Canada - which he had loved with no less fervor than history itself." --Globe and Mail
"Canada's First Century may be Donald Creighton's crowning work, the distillation of a lifetime of research and reflection. . . . His literary style is unsurpassed among Canadian historians. His romantic enthusiasm for his heroes is so unbounded, and his denunciations of their adversaries so devastating, that I have often feared that what we have gained in historical writing, we have lost, and more, in unborn creative fiction." --International Journal
"Professor Creighton expresses a view that should be heard and he states his case with a force and vigour that compel attention. His books should be read by all Canadians concerned about the future of this country, perhaps above all by those who disagree with his thesis." --Winnipeg Free Press