This short microhistory details the life and death of Eddie McKay, a varsity athlete at Western University, who flew with the Royal Flying Corps in the First World War. Graham Broad switches creatively from telling McKay's fascinating story to teaching valuable lessons on how to do history: why the past matters, why historians take different approaches, how to pose historical questions, how to identify relevant source materials, and the importance of thoughtful, intelligent, and respectful treatment of historical subjects. The book includes a timeline of the subject's life, a map of relevant combat areas in the Battle of the Somme, and nine illustrations. It concludes with four unsolved events in McKay's life: a mysterious woman, a strange advertisement for batteries, an empty envelope, and an unknown grave-demonstrating that even a detailed history about one person's life is never really complete.
Graham Broad is Associate Professor of History at King's University College at Western University and the author of A Small Price to Pay: Consumer Culture on the Canadian Home Front, 1939-1945 (2013).
Acknowledgements Timeline Introduction Historians and Their Sources 1. To Western and to War: 1892-1916 Historians and Fact Finding 2. Over the Somme: July-October 1916 Triangulation and Reading Against the Grain 3. The Battle, October 28, 1916-March 14, 1917 Mentalit and the Military Past 4. The Choice: March 15-December 28, 1917 Thinking about Thoughts: The Past as a Foreign Country 5. The Letter: January 1918-July 31, 1932 Historians, Historical Ethics, and the End of History Appendix: The Mysteries Selected Bibliography Index