Name: Desmond Morton
Convocation date: October 22, 2011
Discipline / contribution: history - Canadian
Citation / biographical information:
Desmond Morton is among Canada’s most distinguished historians. As a scholar, teacher, author and media expert, he has dedicated a career to inspiring in Canadians knowledge of their own history and an engagement with that history as the fabric of the national identity.Degree received: Doctor of Letters
Born in Calgary, Dr. Morton attended College militaire royal de St.-Jean, Royal Military College of Canada, Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar, and the London School of Economics. As well as academic appointments in the University of Toronto and McGill University, where he is Hiram Mills Professor of History Emeritus, and still teaches, he was for eight years Principal of Erindale College, University of Toronto, and was the founding Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
Dr. Morton is the author of over 40 books and innumerable other publications. He is regularly asked to comment on current affairs and does so in an incisive, pithy manner. His books address professional and general audiences alike. Written in direct and energetic prose, they are richly documented with experiences of people of all conditions -- the product of probing archival research. In theme they range from Working People, a social and political history of the Canadian labour movement, to many books in Canadian military history. As a military historian, Dr. Morton presents war not only as it is waged on the battlefield, as in When your Number’s Up, which recounts how the relentless and random dynamics of war decided the fates of soldiers in the Great War. He also explores diverse political, economic and social dimensions of the war. Silent Battle, for example, has for its theme the ordeals of Canadian prisoners of war; Fight or Pay reveals the struggles and desolation of the families soldiers left behind.
A Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada, Dr. Mortin is the recipient of the 2010 Pierre Berton Award, which honours those who “have brought Canadian history to a wider audience.”
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