War historian brings importance of the past to life

Tim Cook
War historian Tim Cook brings importance of the past to life. He was the featured speaker at the Research Works Comes to Life luncheon June 4.(Brigitte Bouvier Photo)

Tim Cook doesn’t come from a military family, but his interest in war and the experience of soldiers began when his parents took him to the Western Front at the age of 17.

“Like most students, I wasn’t very interested in history,” he remembers. “But when we walked the battlefields and saw the cemeteries, I was amazed, I was shaken, I was saddened to see thousands and thousands of graves.

“I never really thought about the war. That trip changed everything.”

Cook went on to complete an undergraduate history degree at Trent University and a master’s in war studies at the Royal Military College of Canada through a civilian scholarship. He worked at the Library and Archives Canada for seven years and completed a PhD through the Australian Defence Force Academy.

He joined the Canadian War Museum in 2002 as a historian and curator and was responsible for the South African and First World War permanent galleries. For the last year, he has been collaborating with several colleagues to prepare an exhibition for May 2011 that explores the relationship between war and medicine.

“It will cover the period between late 19th century and the present, focus on the evolution of medicine and have artifacts from around the world,” says Cook. “My co-curator for this exhibition, Andrew Burtch, is a Carleton PhD graduate.

“The exhibit will have everything from surgeon kits, blood transfusion devices and extracted bullets, to doctor and nurse uniforms, medals awarded to medical staff and an incredible photographic collection. We will also potentially write academic papers on this project.”

Cook is also an adjunct research professor at Carleton. He constantly develops new history classes and engages Carleton students and professors with the War Museum.

He has written four books, and earned many awards including the Charles A. Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the J.W. Dafoe Book Prize, the Ottawa Book Award and the C.P. Stacey Award. His fifth book, The Madman and the Butcher: The Sensational Wars of Sam Hughes and General Arthur Currie, will be published later this year.

In addition, Cook is a frequent historical commentator. He  recently spoke with Peter Mansbridge on the live broadcast of Vimy Ridge Day celebrations, which also marked the passing of John Babcock, the last Canadian Great War veteran.

Related links:

This entry was written by Hannah Yakobi and posted in the issue. Tags applied to this article are: , . Leave a comment, bookmark the permalink or share the following short URL for this article via social media: http://carletonnow.carleton.ca/?p=950

Be a part of the Carleton Now community

Carleton Now strives to be an inclusive, relevant and informative publication focused on building and fostering an engaged campus community. You can be a part of our community by: sharing or voting for this article (below), joining in the conversation, or by sending a submission/letter to the editor.

Comments are closed.

Current issue