Hometown Horizons: Local Responses to Canada's Great War

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UBC Press, 2004 - History - 331 pages
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In Hometown Horizons, Robert Rutherdale considers how people and communities on the Canadian home front perceived the Great War. Drawing on newspaper archives and organizational documents, he examines how farmers near Lethbridge, Alberta, shopkeepers in Guelph, Ontario, and civic workers in Trois-Rivières, Québec took part in local activities that connected their everyday lives to a tumultuous period in history. Many important debates in social and cultural history are addressed, including demonization of enemy aliens, gendered fields of wartime philanthropy, state authority and citizenship, and commemoration and social memory.

The making of Canada’s home front, Rutherdale argues, was experienced fundamentally through local means. City parades, military send-offs, public school events, women’s war relief efforts, and many other public exercises became the parochial lenses through which a distant war was viewed. Like no other book before it, this work argues that these experiences were the true "realities" of war, and that the old maxim that truth is war’s first victim needs to be understood, even in the international and imperialistic Great War, as a profoundly local phenomenon.

Hometown Horizons contributes to a growing body of work on the social and cultural histories of the First World War, and challenges historians to consider the place of everyday modes of communication in forming collective understandings of world events. This history of a war imagined will find an eager readership among social and military historians, cultural studies scholars, and anyone with an interest in wartime Canada.

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About the author (2004)

Robert Rutherdale is a member of the Department of History at Algoma University College.

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