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Norman Hillmer is a professor of history and international affairs at Carleton University. He was formerly senior historian at the Department of National Defence, working primarily on the multi-volume official history of the Royal Canadian Air Force. He has authored more than 25 books and numerous articles concentrating on themes in politics, diplomacy, peacekeeping and defence, and immigration. Hillmer is the editor of Skelton’s voluminous papers, which were published in 2013 as O. D. Skelton: The Work of the World, 19231941. He lives in Ottawa.


Norman Hillmer on O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition

Award History

2015 Finalist

Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing
for O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition

Jury Citation

“The shy, dogged, and brilliant Dr. O.D. Skelton was a dangerous man. In his long service as under-secretary of state for external affairs, from 1925 to 1941, Skelton subtly and steadily shifted Canada’s relationship with Great Britain. Many Canadians were outraged that Skelton was slowly cutting the bonds with London. As the most influential public servant of his day, he was the power behind the politicians. Norman Hillmer deftly explores Skelton’s life and service, warts and all, in a compelling narrative. Based on decades of research into multiple archives, this is an authoritative biography of a man who charted a new course for Canada.” – 2015 Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing Jury (Tim Cook, Robyn Doolittle, and Antonia Maioni)