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Writing History

A Professor’s Life

by Michael Bliss

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list price: $40.00
also available: eBook
published: 2011
publisher: Dundurn

One of Canada’s best-known and most-honoured biographers turns to the raw material of his own life in Writing History. A university professor, prolific scholar, public intellectual, and frank critic of the world he has known, Michael Bliss draws on extensive personal diaries to describe a life that has taken him from small-town Ontario in the 1950s to international recognition for his books in Canadian and medical history. His memoir ranges remarkably widely: it encompasses social history, family tragedy, a critical insider’s view of university life, Canadian national politics, and, above all, a rare glimpse into the craftsmanship that goes into the research and writing of history in our time.


Whether writing about pigs and millionaires, the discovery of insulin, sleazy Canadian politicians, or the founders of modern medicine and brain surgery, Michael Bliss is noted for the clarity of his prose, the honesty of his opinions, and the breadth of his literary interests.

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Contributor notes

Michael Bliss, professor emeritus at the University of Toronto, has written numerous books in the fields of Canadian politics, medicine, and business, including the Governor General’s Award–nominated Plague: A Story of Smallpox in Montreal and Sir William Osler: A Life in Medicine. He lives in Toronto, Ontario.

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Editorial Reviews

Weaving his private life, politics, social movements, university affairs and his professional career into a unified texture, supported by decades of journal writing where he vented and recorded his life, Bliss offers an engaging memoir, fast paced and well written and very hard to put down.

— Literary Review of Canada

…a readable, entertaining, and at times, surprising chronicle of the life (so far) of one of Canada’s best known academics.

— University Affairs
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About the Author

Michael Bliss

Michael Bliss is University Professor of History at the University of Toronto and one of Canada's most distinguished historians. His eleven books include Plague: How Smallpox Devastated Montreal, which was shortlisted for a Governor General's Award, and William Osler: A Life in Medicine. He has won numerous Canadian and international awards, is a Member of the Order of Canada, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and has received Honorary Doctor of Letters degrees from McGill and McMaster universities.

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