Ottawa-based historian Tim Cook has won the $10,000 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize for his latest volume of military history, Vimy: The Battle and the Legend (Allen Lane Canada). The book takes a revisionist approach to the iconic April 1917 battle at Vimy Ridge, interrogating the mythology that has built up around Canada’s involvement in the First World War campaign.
Cook was chosen for the prize from a five-book shortlist that also included:
- Unbuttoned: The History of Mackenzie King’s Secret Life, Christopher Dummitt (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
- Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage, Ken McGoogan (Patrick Crean Editions/HarperCollins)
- Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death and Hard Truths in a Northern City, Tanya Talaga (House of Anansi Press)
- The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports, Mark Zuehlke (Douglas & McIntyre)
In February, Talaga’s book won the RBC Taylor Prize for non-fiction.
The J.W. Dafoe Book Prize is named for John Wesley Dafoe, an editor at the Manitoba Free Press (currently the Winnipeg Free Press). The award honours the best book about Canada or Canada’s place in the world published in the previous calendar year.