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Former Laurier prof Barry Gough wins prestigious book award
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Barry Gough, who taught history at Wilfrid Laurier University for more than three decades, has won the Canadian Nautical Research Society’s (CNRS) Keith Matthews Award for best book on maritime history.
Gough’s book, Historical Dreadnoughts: Arthur Marder, Stephen Roskill and Battle for Naval History, is a story of two passionate and competitive historians. Their work dominated naval historical writing in the 1950s to 1970s and is still profoundly important today.
“This book is the culmination of my work at Laurier,” said Gough. “It brings to fruition the great number of things I have been thinking about for the last 33 years. And that issue is: Who controls history?”
The award, which includes a prize of $1,000, was recently presented at the society’s annual meeting in Ottawa. Laurier History Professor Roger Sarty, who is a member of the CNRS and was formerly an official historian of Canada’s navy, presented the award to Gough.
“This is a wonderful achievement for one of Laurier’s most prestigious faculty,” said Sarty. “The vital ingredient, for the balance and depth – as well as colour of the book, is Barry Gough’s lifetime of distinguished work in naval and maritime history.”
Gough was a history professor at Laurier from 1972 until his retirement in 2004. He was founding director of Canadian Studies at Wilfrid Laurier University and is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Fellow of King's College London and Life Member of the Association of Canadian Studies.
One of Canada’s most published historians, Gough has written more than a dozen books and hundreds of articles about nautical history. His critically acclaimed works include Royal Navy and the Northwest Coast of North America, 1810–1914; Gunboat Frontier: British Maritime Authority and Northwest Coast Indians, 1846–90; First Across the Continent: Sir Alexander Mackenzie and Fighting Sail on Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. Gough is currently working on a piece for the bicentennial of the war of 1812.
The annual Keith Matthews Award – named after the renowned maritime historian from Memorial University of Newfoundland who was also a founder and first president of the CNRS – is for the best book on a Canadian nautical subject or by a Canadian on any nautical subject. There is also a Keith Matthews award for best scholarly article on nautical affairs.