Dr. Tim Cook, Canadian author and historian, discusses the First World War at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Dr. Tim Cook, Canadian author and historian, discusses the First World War at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Discussing the soldiers behind the First World War

Dr. Tim Cook spoke at Red Deer College twice Thursday

Red Deerians learned more about the legacy of the First World War, one month before the 100th anniversary of the war’s end.

Dr. Tim Cook, First World War historian at the Canadian War Museum and author of 11 books, discussed the war at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday, as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series.

Cook spoke twice Thursday, with the first talk aiming to humanize Canadian soldiers.

“I think we’re drawn more to the weapons, commanders, generals and the battles,” he said. “I hope this talk can bring the soldiers out of the black-and-white war and create a much more nuanced understanding of them.”

Cook’s latest book, The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War, focuses on those soldiers and their time at war.

“It’s an intimate history that tells a lot bout this generation and how they survived and coped,” he said. “It’s a book that is useful for scholars and Canadians who have a genealogical link.”

Cook’s second talk was a “macro” look at the war’s legacy.

“There is going to be major events in November … and I think it’s a useful time to look at the legacy of the war and see how it changed us.

“The war is a fundamental part of our history,” he said. “It’s had an impact on our political system, economically, socially, culturally.”

Jane MacNeil, RDC School of Arts and Sciences interim dean, said she was excited to have Cook speak at the college.

The First World War “is an event that impacted many parts of Canada,” she said. It “impacted Central Alberta in many, many ways. The percentage of individuals who served in Central Alberta is very high.”

Cook’s books have won many awards, including the RBC Taylor Prize, J.W. Dafoe Prize (twice), Ottawa Book award (twice) and C.P. Stacey award for best book in military history (twice). He has also been awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Governor General’s History Award for Popular Media, and is a member of the Order of Canada.

All proceeds from ticket sales supported scholarships and/or bursaries for RDC students.



sean.mcintosh@reddeeradvocate.com

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Dr. Tim Cook, Canadian author and historian, discusses the First World War at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Dr. Tim Cook, Canadian author and historian, discusses the First World War at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Dr. Tim Cook, Canadian author and historian, discusses the First World War at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)

Dr. Tim Cook, Canadian author and historian, discusses the First World War at the Red Deer College Arts Centre Thursday as part of RDC’s long-running Perspectives: Canada in the World speakers’ series. (Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff)