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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.’

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


The Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in April 1917 during the First World War. Four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force attacked the German stronghold of Hill 145 on the morning of 9 April, and three days later, had successfully pushed the German army off of the ridge. Since those cold and wet April days one hundred years ago, Vimy has for many Canadians emerged as a symbol of Canadian nationhood.

Ian McKay and Jamie Swift last year published The Vimy Trap: Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War. Its exploration of the “childish irrationalism” of ‘Vimyism,” has been met with much praise; one recent view maintains that the Vimy Trap is a “necessary book.” But not all the reviews have been positive. Dr. Geoffrey Hayes of the University of Waterloo has concerns with the book’s arguments and approach.

Music by Lee Rosevere.


Fussell, Paul. The Great War and Modern Memory. Oxford University Press, 1975.

Mckay, Ian and Jamie Swift. The Vimy Trap: Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2016.

Vance, Jonathan F. Death So Noble: Memory, Meaning and the First World War. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997.

Winter, J.M. Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning: The Great War in European Cultural History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1996.


Past Episodes

Episode #1–The War Junk Historian

Episode #2–Somewhere Between War and Society

Episode #3–Complicating History

Episode #4–Canada’s Arctic Laboratory

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