Cook, George Ramsay

George Ramsay Cook, historian (b at Alameda, Sask 28 Nov 1931). Educated at the UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA (BA), QUEEN'S UNIVERSITY (MA) and the UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO (U of T) (PhD), Ramsay Cook taught history first at U of T and later at YORK UNIVERSITY until his retirement in 1996. One of Canada's best-known historians, Cook has written widely in the area of political and social history including such works as John W. Dafoe and the Free Press (1963), Canada and the French Canadian Question (1966), The Maple Leaf Forever (1971), The Regenerators (1985), and Canada, Quebec and the Uses of Nationalism (1986).

Concern for the nature of Canadian NATIONALISM dominates many of Cook's writings and is expressed in 2 major themes. The first is the importance of ideas in the shaping of the national identity, including the force of historical understanding. The second is the necessity of mutual understanding between French and English in Canada. Cook's writings have done much to contribute to English Canada's understanding of the complexities of Québec thought. He has also published work on Canada's intellectual and artistic life, and exploration and European contact with First Nations. Cook's nationalism led him to begin a project to resurrect the DICTIONARY OF CANADIAN BIOGRAPHY in 1989, and he currently serves as its general editor. His past political involvement has included publicly supporting Pierre TRUDEAU's bid for the LIBERAL PARTY leadership in 1968.

Cook has received numerous awards for his contribution to the study of Canadian history. In 1985 he received the GOVERNOR GENERAL'S AWARD for non-fiction, in 1997 York University established the Ramsay Cook Research Scholarship in his honour, and in 2005 he received the CANADA COUNCIL for the Arts MOLSON PRIZE in Social Sciences and Humanities. He is an Officer of the ORDER OF CANADA.