The Canadian Centenary Series

Canada 1957-1967

The Years of Uncertainty and Innovation

Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
Volume XIX of the Canadian Centenary Series

Now available as e-books for the first time, the Canadian Centenary Series is a comprehensive nineteen-volume history of the peoples and lands which form Canada. Although the series is designed as a unified whole so that no part of the story is left untold, each volume is complete in itself.

In the tenth decade of Canada’s Confederation, the expansive and unifying post-war boom gave way to rapid change and conflicting choices. These were the years of John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson, years when Canada’s culture, economy, and politics took new directions and the foundations of Canada’s political and social realities were laid. J.L. Granatstein explores these crucial ten years through an assessment and analysis of people, issues, and trends. Beginning with a survey of the country in 1957, poised to grasp Diefenbaker’s grand “Vision,” the author vividly describes how the Progressive Conservative promise won the nation -- and later could not be fulfilled. In these critical years Canada joined NORAD and scrapped the Avro Arrow jet fighter; the Diefenbaker Cabinet tore itself apart over the nuclear arms question. Cultural growth and change are here portrayed as central to the nation’s history in the author’s examination of the Canada Council’s formation and its impact on the nation’s artistic and intellectual life. 

Politics mirrored public feelings in the mid-1960s, as governments federal and provincial addressed new kinds of problems. Unification of the armed forces, medicare, and bilingualism in the public services, especially in the context of the growing political and cultural ferment in Quebec, proved divisive as well as innovative. 

Utilizing government records, the private papers of important figures, and interviews with individuals at the centre of events, J.L. Granatstein offers the reader a thoughtful but exhilarating account of this turbulent period when Canada almost lost its way en route to the Centennial of Confederation. First published in 1986, Professor Granatstein’s important contribution to the Canadian Centenary Series is available here as an e-book for the first time.