Best Book in Political History Prize
Fernand Harvey, Histoire des politiques culturelles au Québec, 1855-1976 (Septentrion Press, 2022)
It is with conviction that the jury names Fernand Harvey’s masterful study, Histoire des politiques culturelles au Québec, 1855-1976, as the best book in Canadian political history published in 2022. The book is ambitious in its chronological coverage – 120 years – and it embraces both changing contexts and long-term axes. It is administrative history, with budgets and organization charts that mark out the subject. It is also an embodied history, which knows that all politics has its source and its fallout in people: ministers and civil servants, lobbyists and citizens, journalists and writers, business people, artists on stage or in the studio. Professor Harvey’s work is distinguished by its clear prose. The iconography is abundant and evocative; the documentation, rigorous. Finally, the book impresses by its historiographical serenity: it recreates the impetus accompanying the creation of the Ministry of Cultural Affairs in 1961, without neglecting the advances of the century preceding the Quiet Revolution. Knowing how to balance things out is the mark of a fine historical work, and Histoire des politiques culturelles is certainly one of them.
Press release prepared by the Éditions Septentrion