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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

Pierre Berton dead at 84

He died of heart failure in Toronto earlier today.   Whatever you think of his political views, the man did a lot to get Canadians insterested in their history, and for that he deserves our thanks.

Posted by Damian Penny on November 30, 2004 in Books | Permalink


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Tracked on 2004-11-30 8:28:38 PM


Sad news, indeed. He will certainly be missed.

Sincerest condolences to his family.

Posted by: Kevin Jaeger | 2004-11-30 5:17:02 PM

Another victim of Toronto. What a surprise. See, Toronto does kill people.

His books were crap, pop history with little or no research. He was a novelist, not a historian.

Posted by: Scott | 2004-11-30 6:21:26 PM

His political views, as far as I can tell, were formed in the 30s and 40s, out of a sense of rage with the Bennett and King governments - like a lot of people (my grandfather included), he supported the CCF in the hopes of seeing things change.

Frankly, if I lived through those times, I'd probably have felt the same way. It's too easy to judge the past, or people who lived throug different times, from a contemporary perspective. That said, you're doomed to irrelevancy if you can't acknowledge real, essential change, and insist on the old paradigms holding true.

Which might be why Berton seemed a bit lost in the last few years. Never mind - his books on Vimy, on the Depression, on 1967, are all classics. And a very nice man he was, as well.

We always complain that Canada doesn't have mythologies or vivid historical epics like our neighbours - well, thanks to Berton, we have. He'll be missed.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-11-30 6:21:33 PM

And yes, Scott - Toronto kills people. Now run along.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-11-30 6:22:37 PM

The Red Sox win the World Series and a 110 year old fan dies shortly thereafter.

Tommy Douglas wins a rigged CBC contest and Pierre Burton dies shortly thereafter.

There's a concept being demonstrated here, I just don't know what it is.

Posted by: Lars Ormberg | 2004-11-30 6:36:14 PM

FOAD, Scott.

Posted by: Damian P. | 2004-11-30 8:14:34 PM

The non-fiction railway track genre mourns a giant.

Posted by: Kate | 2004-11-30 8:35:52 PM

Berton is the perfect example of how shallow Canadian literature is.

He depended entirely on the protected market to sell his books. If he had to compete, he would have been a failure. He made a pile of money off it.

The lack of competition forced people to buy into his lies, like how "Canada" burned down Washington in 1814.

His books were fiction, even the supposedly history ones. He was a novelist, people, not a historian. However, in his defence, all Canadian history is fiction.

Rest in Peace, you hack.

Posted by: Scott | 2004-12-01 5:16:57 AM

"However, in his defence, all Canadian history is fiction."

But so are you, Scott.

Posted by: rick mcginnis | 2004-12-01 6:08:11 AM

I'm beginning to think "Scott" is just the Sleep Viking, with Spellcheck.

And I like Lars' notion a lot: seems to be a mutation of the Famous People Die In Threes phenomenon.

Posted by: Kathy Shaidle | 2004-12-01 7:07:20 AM

Just beginning?

Posted by: Kate | 2004-12-01 10:06:16 AM

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