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Daniel Francis


Daniel Francis was born in Vancouver in 1947. He earned his BA from the University of British Columbia, then moved to Ottawa, where he worked as a newspaper journalist and obtained an MA in Canadian Studies from Carleton University in 1975. Since then he has worked as a freelance historical writer and researcher.

From 1984 to 1987 he was the editorial director of Horizon Canada, a bilingual illustrated history of Canada published from Montreal in weekly magazine format. In 1987 he moved with his family back to the Vancouver area.

Francis has written two dozen published books, most of them about Canadian history. Titles include: The Imaginary Indian: The Image of the Indian in Canadian Culture (Arsenal Pulp Press, 1992), National Dreams: Myth, Memory and Canadian History (Arsenal Pulp, 1997), Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver’s Sex Trade (Subway Books, 2006) and A Road for Canada: The Illustrated Story of the Trans-Canada Highway (Stanton Atkins and Dosil, 2006). His book L.D.: Mayor Louis Taylor and the Rise of Vancouver (Arsenal Pulp, 2004) won the City of Vancouver Book Award. He also served as editorial director of the mammoth Encyclopedia of British Columbia, hailed on its appearance in 2000 as one of the most important books about the province ever published. He has also written several books for young readers, including Far West: The Story of British Columbia (Harbour, 2006), which stayed on the BC Bestseller list for many weeks.

His latest book is Seeing Reds: The Red Scare of 1918–1919, Canada’s First War on Terror (Arsenal Pulp Press).

Daniel Francis has been a member of the Geist editorial board since the magazine was founded in 1990. You can read Francis's blog at danielfrancis.ca.

He recently spoke to Joseph Planta from thecommentary.ca about his book, Red Light Neon: A History of Vancouver’s Sex Trade (Subway, 2007). Listen here.

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Articles

Magical Thinking

The canoe as a fetish object, a misreading of Canadian history and a symbol of colonial oppression. more »

Feb 11, 2014 by in Columns

Identity in a Cup

Is it the icons of Canadian pop culture—hockey fights, Tim Hortons coffee, Don Cherry’s haberdashery, Rick Mercer’s rants—that reveal the deepest truths about us? more »

Aug 7, 2013 by in Columns

Come to the Cabaret

The Penthouse, the notorious Vancouver night club, shares a history with several of the city's missing women cases. more »

Jun 26, 2013 by in Columns

Publicity

Because of its status as the city’s tallest structure, the World Tower attracted a fair share of attention over the years, but nothing equalled the much-publicized attempt by Harry Gardiner, “The Human Fly." more »

Mar 28, 2013 by in FINDINGS

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Reviews

Killer Angels

Many more words have been expended on the American Civil War than bullets were fired. There is even a joke about it. (Question: Who won the Civil War? Answer: The American Booksellers Association.) Until recently I was immune to Civil War fever, had never toured a battlefield, didn't know the difference between Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. Then I came across a reference to Killer Angels (Ballantyne), a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Michael Shaara. more »

Feb 22, 2011 by in Reviews

Indians at Work

From opposite ends of the country come two important books about Indians: one old and one new. The old is a reissue of Rolf Knight's Indians at Work (New Star). more »

Nov 23, 2010 by in Reviews

Friend of the Devil

When I finally got around to reading Postwar, I was amused to discover that Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks was reading it too. This is the first time I have found myself reading the same book as a character in a novel. more »

Dec 18, 2008 by in Reviews

Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945

When I finally got around to reading Postwar, I was amused to discover that Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks was reading it too. This is the first time I have found myself reading the same book as a character in a novel. more »

Dec 18, 2008 by in Reviews