Careless at Work


This sampling of the work of J.M.S. Careless in the area of Canadian historical studies was selected by the eminent scholar himself, and represents much of his finest work. The collection spans the years from 1940 to 1990 in the long and distinguished career of one of Canada’s best-known historians. In Careless’s own words, History is dated. Its very claim is that the past does not fade into nothing but continues to matter, whether or not the purely present-minded are able to recognize that basic fact.

These essays cover the main lines of Careless’s career in Canadian scholarship. The collection is divided into four general subject areas each covering a main preoccupation in a distinguished career of over forty years. The first section concentrates on the earliest theme in his writing, George Brown and his times. The second centres on exploring various aspects of frontierism and metropolitanism in Canadian history. The third part deals with cities and regions focusing particularly on the West and nineteenth century Ontario. The final section picks up the threads of other themes including limited identities Canada and multiculturalism.


"This collection of essays is an appropriate monument to an outstanding scholar."

Canadian Social Studies (January, 1993)

"Dundurn has provided a clean text and clear, suitable photographs ... Careless at Work will be valued for the convenience of having these essays readily at hand and for the content of both papers and forewords."

Ontario History

"... a worthy celebration of the significant, challenging contributions that Maurice Careless has made to our understanding of Canada's past."

Globe and Mail (March, 1991)

"This book not only illuminates Canadian history but also reveals a scholar's mind at work, as, during his long career, he developed an understanding of historical processes and of individuals."

CBRA (January, 1990)

"The collection is a useful one, and not just as a historiographic artifact. Many of the pieces here are still used regularly in undergraduate classrooms and graduate seminars. Putting them together in one place both makes them more accessible and, by juxtaposing them, allows the curious student to comprehend both the debate and the outstanding problems more readily."

The Canadian Historical Review

About the Author

J.M.S. Careless

Posted by Dundurn Guest on December 6, 2014

J.M.S. Careless

J.M.S. Careless, University Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto, was for many years Chairman of the Department of History. His historical research and writing have brought him many awards. In 1953, he won the Governor General's Award for Canada: A Story of Challenge, and in 1963 the same award for his two volume biography of George Brown, Brown of the Globe (reprinted by Dundurn Press in 1989). Deceased on April 6, 2009.