Some of what was said about WWI 'historian' Archer Fortescue Duguid

The Canadian Press
August 24, 2014 04:05 AM

It took more than 40 years and two tries to produce the official history of Canada in the First World War. It was no easy project. Here are some quotes about the effort:

"The problem is that Duguid was also simultaneously being pulled in multiple directions while he was being asked to write this history." — Historian Mark Humphries, who holds the Dunkley Chair in War and the Canadian Experience at Wilfrid Laurier University.


"Duguid is cast as the guy who never really completed this task but in many ways the job handed to him was impossible." — Humphries.


"It will be the impressive volume in which he tells the dramatic story of Canada's army in the first year of the Great War for which he will be chiefly remembered. Many men have left a lesser memorial." — Historian G.W.L. Nicholson, in a 1976 obituary for A. Fortescue Duguid.


"It may be said that the work was conceived on too grand a scale to be accomplished by one man lacking the assistance of a staff of trained historians." — Nicholson.


"Col. Duguid's plan to write an eight-volume history of the Canadian Forces in the Great War was never realized. The quality of that part which was published makes clear how great this loss was, to the veterans of the expeditionary force and to Canada at large." — Col. G.M.G. Sprung, director of the historical section at the defence Department in 1962, when the Nicholson history of the war was published.


"One can have sympathy for Duguid, as he fought and won countless historical battles for the CEF, only to lose his own in the final war of reputations." — Historian Tim Cook in his 2006 book, "Clio's Warriors."

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