Empire to Umpire: Canada and the World to the 1990s


373 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7730-5439-1
DDC 327.71'009'04





Reviewed by David A. Lenarcic

David A. Lenarcic teaches history at Wilfrid Laurier University in


Here at last is a concise history of Canadian foreign policy, which
describes in detail the period from Confederation to the present.
Acknowledged experts in the field, Hillmer and Granatstein bring their
intimate knowledge of the subject to bear in skilfully charting the
evolution of Canadian diplomacy. The title conveys the book’s central
focus: Canada’s journey from a detached role in the world that
emanated primarily from its membership in the British Empire, to a more
activist posture characterized by its development into an “honest
broker” and “helpful fixer” in international affairs. Along the
way, it moved not only from colony to nation but also ever
closer—politically, economically, and militarily—to the United

The authors’ prose is both clear and lively, incorporating amusing
quotations; editorial cartoons enhance their presentation. Moreover,
this is not a dry textbook that merely provides a blow-by-blow
narrative; rather, it is an analytical account that keenly identifies
historiographical debates and advances its own positions in an
easy-to-read fashion. A short bibliographical essay succinctly discusses
the relevant scholarly literature.

The final chapter, which chronicles the Mulroney years, is the book’s
weakest, since it is based on secondary sources. Although undergraduate
students might have preferred a preface and conclusion that previewed
and summarized, respectively, themes and patterns in greater number and
more detail, the authors have produced a handy volume that will become a
staple for university courses.


Hillmer, Norman, and J.L. Granatstein., “Empire to Umpire: Canada and the World to the 1990s,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/6627.