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About the Author

Pierre Berton was born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon. He worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years, spending four years in the army, rising from private to captain/instructor at the Royal Military College in Kingston. After the military, Berton went to Vancouver where he began show more his career at a newspaper. At 21, he was the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily. He moved to Toronto in 1947, and at the age of 31 was named managing editor of Maclean's. In 1957 he became a key member of the CBC's public affairs flagship program, Close-Up, and a permanent panelist on Front Page Challenge. He joined The Toronto Star as an associate editor and columnist in 1958, leaving 4 years later in '62 to commence The Pierre Berton Show, which ran until 1973. Since then he has appeared as host and writer on My Country, The Great Debate, Heritage Theatre, and The Secret of My Success. He has received numerous honourary degrees and served as the Chancellor of Yukon College. Berton is also a Companion of the Order of Canada, and has received a Stephen Leacock Medal for Humor in 1959, a Govenor's General Award for The Mysterious North in 1956, Klondike in 1958 and The Last Spike in 1972. Berton has also won a Nellie Award for best public broadcaster in radio in 1978, the Canadian Authors Association Literary Award for non fiction in, 1981 and the Canadian Booksellers Award in 1982. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Disambiguation Notice:

Wrote a single novel as Lisa Kroniuk.


Works by Pierre Berton

Vimy (1986) 374 copies
The Last Spike (1971) 302 copies
The National Dream (1970) 281 copies
The Secret World of Og (1961) 238 copies
The Comfortable Pew (1965) 179 copies
The Great Railway (1972) 142 copies
Prisoners of the North (2004) 141 copies
The Wild Frontier (1978) 132 copies
Drifting Home (1973) 107 copies
Why We Act Like Canadians (1982) 98 copies
1967: The Last Good Year (1997) 57 copies
Winter (1994) 47 copies
Starting Out 1920-1947 (1987) 47 copies
The Capture of Detroit (1991) 46 copies
Mysterious North (1956) 41 copies
The Death of Isaac Brock (1991) 36 copies
Steel Across the Shield (1994) 35 copies
The Railway Pathfinders (1992) 35 copies
Pierre Berton's War of 1812 (2011) 35 copies
The Death of Tecumseh (1994) 33 copies
The Klondike Stampede (1991) 33 copies
Bonanza Gold (1657) 32 copies
Cats I Have Known and Loved (2002) 31 copies
The Great Lakes (1996) 30 copies
The smug minority (1967) 30 copies
The Men in Sheepskin Coats (1992) 30 copies
A Prairie Nightmare (1992) 30 copies
Jane Franklin's Obsession (1992) 29 copies
Dr. Kane of the Arctic Seas (1993) 29 copies
Before the Gold Rush (1993) 26 copies
Kings of the Klondike (1993) 25 copies
Battle of Lake Erie (1994) 24 copies
Trapped in the Arctic (1993) 24 copies
Great Canadians: A Century of Achievement (1965) — Editor — 23 copies
Canada Under Siege (1991) 21 copies
Attack on Montreal (1995) 20 copies
Seacoasts (1999) 19 copies
City of Gold (1992) 19 copies
Revenge of the Tribes (1991) 18 copies
Just Add Water and Stir (1959) 17 copies
Adventures of a Columnist (1960) 15 copies
Trails of '98 (1992) 15 copies
Historic Headlines (1967) 15 copies
Canada Moves West (2005) 14 copies
The Big Sell 12 copies
Fast Fast Fast Relief (1967) 9 copies
Voices from the Sixties (1967) 5 copies
The Berton Family Cookbook (1985) — Editor — 5 copies
Eh! Canada (2001) 2 copies
Masquerade (1985) 2 copies
The Beaver (Vol. 64, No. 2 Summer 1984) — Contributor — 1 copy
Visions and Voices (2005) 1 copy

Associated Works

The Call of the Wild (1903) — Introduction, some editions — 20,103 copies
The Cremation of Sam McGee (1907) — Introduction, some editions — 275 copies
I Married the Klondike (1955) — Introduction — 122 copies
Women of the Klondike (1968) — Foreword — 81 copies
The Colour of Canada (1967) — Editorial Director — 76 copies
Great Canadian Painting : a Century of Art (1966) — Editor, some editions — 40 copies
The Pacific Coast (1970) — Editor — 27 copies
The St. Lawrence Valley (1970) — Editor — 27 copies
Because We Are Canadians (2003) — Foreword — 15 copies
The Nature of Mammals (1975) — Editor — 14 copies
City of Gold [1957 short] (1957) — Narrator — 3 copies


19th century (81) 20th century (92) adventure (612) Alaska (391) American (87) American literature (235) animals (337) Arctic (123) Canada (713) Canadian (192) Canadian History (342) children (70) children's (139) classic (507) classic literature (84) classics (583) dogs (436) ebook (80) fiction (1,453) gold rush (153) historical fiction (94) history (951) Jack London (69) Kindle (85) literature (245) nature (112) non-fiction (417) novel (183) railroads (96) read (202) sled dogs (74) survival (161) to-read (554) War of 1812 (121) wilderness (129) wolves (232) WWI (101) YA (73) young adult (154) Yukon (170)

Common Knowledge

Canonical name
Berton, Pierre
Legal name
Berton, Pierre Francis de Marigny CC, O.Ont
Other names
Kroniuk, Lisa
Date of death
Burial location
Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada (ashes scattered)
Country (for map)
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Place of death
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Cause of death
heart failure
Places of residence
Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, Canada
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
University of British Columbia (BA | History)
Victoria College
Captain (Canadian Army)
Instructor (Royal Military College of Canada)
Berton, Janet (wife)
Berton, Laura Beatrice (mother)
The Ubyssey
Canadian Army
Royal Military College of Canada
Yukon College
Writers' Trust of Canada
Awards and honors
Order of Canada (Officer ∙ 1974 | Companion ∙ 1986)
Governor General's Literary Award (creative non-fiction ∙ 1956 ∙ 1958 ∙ 1972)
Stephen Leacock Medal of Humour (1960)
CBA Libris Award (Lifetime Achievement Award ∙ 2004)
Gabrielle Léger National Heritage Award (1989)
National History Society (first award for "distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history" ∙ 1994) (show all 15)
Canadian Authors' Association Award, Canada's Man of the Century (1967)
The Alumni Award of Distinction, University of British Columbia (1981)
Canadian News Hall of Fame (member ∙ 1983)
Canadian Railway Hall of Fame Award of Recognition (2002)
Graeme Gibson Award (1992)
Order of Mariposa (1990)
Order of Ontario (1992)
Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal (2002)
Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee Medal (1977)
Short biography
Pierre Berton was a well-known Canadian historian and TV personality. Berton grew up in the Yukon and worked in Klondike mining camps during his university years. He began his newspaper career in Vancouver, becoming the youngest city editor on any Canadian daily at age 21. Berton moved to Toronto in 1947, and in 1951 he became managing editor of Maclean's magazine.
Berton first appeared on TV in 1952, as a panellist on Court of Opinion. In 1957, he became the host of the CBC's public affairs flagship program Close-Up, and became a panelist on Front Page Challenge. He joined The Toronto Star as associate editor and columnist in 1958, leaving in 1962 to commence The Pierre Berton Show, which ran until 1973. In 1963 he premiered the Pierre Berton Show (also known as the Pierre Berton Hour) on the CTV network.
Disambiguation notice
Wrote a single novel as Lisa Kroniuk.



BooksInMirror | 7 other reviews | Feb 19, 2024 |
Lovely photo essays, and word essays. A mix of reminiscences, history, and current (to the early 1990s) observations. The words evoked a lot of what I feel about winter. And I loved that there were photos of snowstorms!
Beth3511 | Feb 3, 2024 |
This book recounts the events of the first year of the War of 1812, and the present tense puts the reader at the heart of the action. It was written in 1980, though, and I’m sure more recent scholarship can fill in the (acknowledged by Berton) gaps in history, notably events from the Indigenous perspective.
rabbitprincess | 8 other reviews | Jul 8, 2023 |
In his last book, Canadian historian extraordinaire Pierre Berton returned to the style of his Remarkable Past stories and his favourite subject - the Canadian north - to highlight five Canadian (or Canada-related) figures who have largely been forgotten or neglected by history. In some respects this serves as a coda to his best known work, "The Arctic Grail". It includes more than the usual number of photos.

Joseph Boyle - adventurer, gold-seeker, 'King of the Klondike'. Some key parts of his story are missing or skimmed: how did he stake a claim eight miles long when the classic image is of barely-surviving gold seekers arriving only to discover everything already snapped up? How did he ship in such an enormous amount of parts and pieces for his monstrous dredges over those challenging passes?

Vilhjalmur Stefansson - last of the old-time Arctic explorers. Stefansson learned mightily from the Inuit and the mistakes of his forerunners, but his lone wolf personality resulted in poor leadership and organizational skills that endangered the lives of his less rugged companions.

Lady Jane Franklin - wife of the doomed Sir John Franklin, she was a world traveler and world famous. She was also extremely stubborn, first about accepting her husband's death in his Arctic quest for the Northwest Passage and then about whether he was its discoverer.

John Hornby - the hermit of the north, Hornby presented few heroic qualities other than a remarkable ability to survive under ridiculous self-imposed circumstances, just so he could say he did. This, and the senseless tragedy that ended his life, was enough to put his name on several northern landmarks.

Robert Service - Canadian poet who specialized in writing about the north; also, a neighbour when the author was growing up. Berton oversells this portrait (best-known English poet of the 20th century??) of a man he knew and admired personally, but this is somewhat balanced by Service's own retiring modesty.

The book's last photo depicts the author interviewing Robert Service approximately three months before the poet's death in 1958. Pierre Berton died about as many months after publishing this book, in 2004 at the age of 84.
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Cecrow | 5 other reviews | Jun 29, 2023 |



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