From LCMSDS Productions, The On War & Society podcast features interviews with the most prominent historians of war and society. Host Eric Story sits down with his guests to discuss their cutting-edge research, the challenges associated with doing history, and life ‘behind the book.’

On War & Society #14–Rewriting the Great War

Since 2014, there has been an outpouring of literature on the First World War that has moved the field in exciting new directions. Over thirty books have been released by Canadian academic presses over the past almost four years, including titles on conscription, shell shock, and the memory of the war. But before these books were published, Mark Humphries wrote an intriguing 2014 article in the Canadian Historical Review about the historiography of the First World War in Canada and where he thought the field should lead next. Among several other revealing insights, he urged future scholars to adopt a transnational approach that would challenge the exceptionalist literature that characterizes Canadian First World War history-writing. But where has the field gone since? Mark has some thoughts.

Mark is the director of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies, the Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience and an Associate Professor in the Department of History at Wilfrid Laurier University.


Tim Cook. Clio’s Warriors: Canadian Historians and the Writing of the World Wars. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2006.

——. The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War. Toronto: Allen Lane, 2018.

Patrick Dennis. Reluctant Warriors: Canadian Conscripts and the Great War. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2017.

Richard Holt. Filling the Ranks: Manpower in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914–1918. Kingston & Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2017.

G.W.L. Nicholson. Official History of the Canadian Army in the First World War: Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914–1919. Ottawa: Queen’s Printer, 1962.

Pierre Nora. “Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire.” Representations26 (1989): 7–24.

Gary Sheffield. Forgotten Victory: The First World War: Myths and Realities. London: Headline, 2001.

Hew Strachan. The First World War: To Arms. Vol. 1. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2003.

Past Episodes

Episode #1–The War Junk Historian with Alex Souchen

Episode #2–Somewhere Between War and Society with Terry Copp

Episode #3–Complicating History with Mary Chaktsiris

Episode #4–Canada’s Arctic Laboratory with Matthew Wiseman

Episode #5–Did You Fall Into the Vimy Trap? with Geoff Hayes

Episode #6–Dunkirk with Terry Copp

Episode #7–The Conscripted with Patrick Dennis

Episode #8–In Search of the Canadian Officer with Geoff Hayes

Episode #9–Treating Wounds of the Mind with Meghan Fitzpatrick

Episode #10–Destruction and Dissent in the Marshall Islands with Martha Smith-Norris

Episode #11–Civil War and Identity with Alec Maavara

Episode #12–A Microhistory of an Ace with Graham Broad

Episode #13–Family at the Front with Kristine Alexander

Contact Information

Matt Baker, Senior Research Associate and Centre Coordinator
[email protected]
(519) 884-0710 ext. 2080

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Wilfrid Laurier University
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Waterloo, ON, Canada
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