Celtic Lightning: How The Scots And The Irish Created A Canadian Nation

Category: Book
By (author): Mcgoogan, Ken
Subject:  HISTORY / Canada / General
  NON-FICTION / Canadian
Audience: general/trade
Publisher: HarperCollins
Published: September 2015
Format: Book-hardcover
Pages: 400
Size: 9.00in x 6.00in x 1.25in
Our Price:
$ 30.00
In stock

Additional Notes

From The Publisher*

With Celtic Lightning, bestselling author Ken McGoogan plunges into the perpetual debate about Canadian roots and identity: Who do we think we are? He argues that Canadians have never investigated the demographic reality that informs this book-the fact that more than nine million Canadians claim Scottish or Irish heritage. Did the ancestors of more than one quarter of our population arrive without cultural baggage? No history, no values, no vision? Impossible.

McGoogan writes that, to understand who we are and where we are going, Canadians must look to cultural genealogy. He builds on the work of Richard Dawkins, who contends that ideas and values ("memes") can be transmitted from one generation to another. Scottish and Irish immigrants arrived in Canada with values they had learned from their forebears. And they did so early enough, and in sufficient numbers, to shape an emerging Canadian nation.

McGoogan highlights five of the values they imported as foundational: independence, audacity, democracy, pluralism and perseverance. He shows that these values are thriving in contemporary Canada, and traces their evolution through the lives of thirty prominent individuals-heroes, rebels, poets, inventors, pirate queens-who played formative roles in the histories of Scotland and Ireland. Two charged traditions came together and gave rise to a Canadian nation. That is when Celtic lightning struck.

Review Quote*


"Ken McGoogan is required reading for any Canadian who wants to know the real history of our country." -PETER MANSBRIDGE

"Ken McGoogan has a way of making our forgotten history seem positively heady-tragic and compelling." -OTTAWA CITIZEN


"[An] inspired work. . . . McGoogan is rapidly becoming the rightful successor to populist historian Pierre Berton." -TORONTO STAR

"McGoogan takes a [Bill] Bryson-like approach to his topic, jumping in with both feet and spinning out on a journey beyond any at which the staid cover might hint." -JANUARY MAGAZINE


"Delivers more of what readers recognize as McGoogan hallmarks: intelligence, curiosity, strong research and highly readable prose. . . . A compelling account of cutthroat politics and manipulation as practiced by the Victorian social elite." -THE GLOBE AND MAIL

"[Lady Franklin's] story is told in Ken McGoogan's superlative book. It's his best work ever. . . . It belongs on the shelf next to such Arctic classics as Pierre Berton's The Arctic Grail." -EDMONTON JOURNAL


"A terrifically accessible account of this wide-eyed, extraordinarily intrepid adventurer's thrilling and chilling exploits." -KIRKUS REVIEWS

"McGoogan's readable biography ensures Kane's place in the pantheon of polar explorers. Highly recommended." -LIBRARY JOURNAL, STARRED REVIEW

"McGoogan's fascinating biography focuses on a neglected figure from the early era of polar exploration. . . . With his access to previously unknown Kane logbooks, McGoogan makes an impressive case for the bravery and importance of the explorer who first identified the Greenland ice sheet." -PUBLISHERS WEEKLY