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National Dreams: Myth, Memory, and Canadian History

3.74  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  6 reviews
As Canadians, we remember the stories told to us in high-school history class as condensed images of the past--the glorious Mountie, the fearsome Native, the Last Spike. National Dreams is an incisive study of the most persistent icons and stories in Canadian history, and how they inform our sense of national identity: the fundamental beliefs that we Canadians hold about ourselv ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published July 1st 2002 by Arsenal Pulp Press (first published January 1997)
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Jennifer
Jan 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is easily one of the best critical texts on Canadian culture and history that I have read, and one of the most relevant studies on our understanding (or rather misunderstanding) of Canadian identity. An essential read for anyone even marginally interested in the subject matter.
Glen
Feb 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Accessible, though now somewhat dated, and the postmodern tropes Francis employs throughout have become somewhat shop-worn. Iconoclasm was not invented by Derrida or DeMan, and in fairness Francis does underscore the salutary role myths can and do play in the life of a people, but of course in many momentous narratives there are winners and losers, and truth often acts as handmaiden to power. At times this latter fact seems to carry the author a bit too far, to the point that he engages in his o ...more
Camila
Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting approach on some of the major symbols that arguably form Canadian identity. Even though the author has a strong point of view, I didn't feel the approach is negatively biased, even though the sometimes sarcastic view of Canadian "myths" may upset some readers.

One aspect I dislike in the book is the digressions that at times seemed unnecessary to me (for instance, when discussing the "myth of the canoe", Francis spends an entire section on how the Group of Seven was for
...more
Anastasia
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was ok
Some of the information is very dated. His experiences and information is good for the time period he is referencing, but history is still being rewritten even now. Hopefully for the better of all Canadians.
D
Aug 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
Really enjoyed this book. Wish I'd read it a decade ago. As time goes by and generations pass, you lose that direct exposure to the myths of Canada, but they're still there, and this felt like a history lesson and partially a debunking of history. The book is broken up into chapters on CP Rail, the RCMP, Quebec, Wilderness, the North, the influence of British Imperialism, and Heroes. Highly recommended!
Malcolm
Jul 23, 2011 rated it really liked it
Every 'nation' bases its history in popular myths that obscure its violence and the power involved. Bruce Francis explores and unpacks these for Canada in scholarly, meticulous, thoroughly accessible way. The best kind of dissident and revisionist history.
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