The passing of Pierre Berton gave me pause to think
again on the thanks we owe him for popularizing
Canadian history and making it accessible to those who
thought it dry, dull and boring. Without his efforts,
many people would not be active in his hobby. Of
course, Berton did not always get the facts right, but
the point is he wasn't an academic, but a journalist,
first and foremost.
As a journalist, he brought the people to life who
lived our history. He took history from being one damn
fact after another and wove it into a vibrant tapestry.
Let the academic historians debate the realities
and consequences of the minutaie because without Berton
firing the zeal of budding, grade-school historians
there'd be a damn sight fewer scrutinizing our history.
Berton lit the path for many to follow. Because of him
our understanding of our history is richer and will be
enriched in years to come.
"Of arms and the man I sing." Virgil