Remembering Pierre Berton

A Carleton University history professor is helping ensure the insightful words of renowned Canadian journalist Pierre Berton will continue to touch the lives of Canadians for many years to come.

“He is one of the most important Canadians in the second half of the 21st Century,” says Professor Brian McKillop, who is currently writing a biography of Berton. Specifically, the biography will look at, “his role in having us understand the cultural transformation Canada has gone through…and how much Canada has changed up to the present day.”

McKillop started the biography four years ago, and had many opportunities to chat with Berton. But strangely, his conversations with Berton were not where he gained his greatest inspirations for the book. Instead, his greatest inspiration came from a stay in Dawson City, Yukon in the very house Berton grew up. Several years ago, Berton purchased his old home and converted it into a retreat for writers.

“His actions encourage people to go up North, to experience it, and to write about it,” notes McKillop. “It was invaluable for me as a writer, perhaps more than others. I was sleeping in the same bedroom he did as a child,” with the ability to look out the window to see the same sights Berton saw as a child.

McKillop stresses that Berton’s life was full of successes, and notes, “sometimes we forget this as we think of him just as a popular historian.”

McKillop’s manuscript is set to be completed next fall.

From – http://www.now.carleton.ca/2005-1/638.htm

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