My eighth book, The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War was published by Knopf on April 13, 2021. It will shock readers who thought they understood that tragic war and believed that Canada had nothing or little to do with it. In fact, Canada was intricately involved as it tested who Canadians were and what we stood for. Thousands of Canadians continue to be touched by the war. It is available at independent books stores and through Chapters and Amazon.

Boyko_r2_1 (3)

I was proud to have been invited by Dundurn Press to write my 7th book as part of its Point of View series. Sir John’s Echo: The Voice for a Stronger Canada, was published on April 1, 2017.

Cold Fire: Kennedy’s Northern Front, was published by Knopf-Penguin Random House in Canada and the United States in February 2016. The book challenged opinions of John F. Kennedy and of Canadian leaders John Diefenbaker and Lester Pearson with its look at how the president sought to advance his agenda despite the efforts of Canadians to secure their interests. The book was shortlisted for the J. W. Dafoe prize for Canadian non-fiction.

My previous books addressing Canadian History and Politics include Last Steps to Freedom: The Evolution of Canadian RacismInto The Hurricane: Attacking Socialism and the CCF,( and Bennett: The Rebel Who Challenged and Changed a NationBlood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation was published in Canada and the United States in 2013. It was a national bestseller, chosen as one of the Globe and Mail’s Best Books of the year, and received positive reviews in Canada, the US, and Britain. In 2014, Blood and Daring was released in paperback and, through the University of Laval Press, in French translation. The translation was shortlisted for a 2015 Governor General’s award.

For a number of years, I have been speaking with groups and doing radio, TV, and print interviews across Canada. The travel is sometimes tiring but I like meeting people who share an interest in books, ideas, and history. My op. ed. columns are writing exercises but also, like my Monday morning blogs, meant to present ideas that might cause a reader to reflect or be stirred to debate.  My column has also been seen in The Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Toronto Star, Ottawa Citizen, Ottawa’s Hill Times, Fredericton Telegraph-Journal, Montreal Gazette, Maclean’s magazine and more.

I am pleased to contribute entries for the Canadian Encyclopaedia. I was also happy when invited to write the foreword for the delightful historical fiction book for young people entitled The Hero of Hopewell Hill (Fireside Press).

I have earned degrees from Trent, Queen’s, and McMaster Universities. I’ve served on many boards and was chair of the Peterborough Social Planning Council, Lakefield Library Board, and Lakefield Literary Festival. I am now chair of the Board of the Morton Community Healthcare Centre. I’ve been elected to municipal office where I saw politics from the inside – an interesting view.

The guitar has offered me great solace and pleasure over the years. I was signed to a recording contract and released three songs that I composed back in the day, one of which was a minor hit in Canada and even made #2 in Sweden, go figure. I am the lead guitarist and singer in a pop-rock band called The Footnotes – grown men playing rock ‘n’ roll and having more fun than should be legal.

I enjoyed a career in education where students kept me curious and humble. The former Dean of History at Lakefield College School, I left the classroom for the administration of Lakefield’s summer programs. Home is the small village of Lakefield, Ontario where I play increasingly slow hockey, enjoy runs down the trail flanked by farmland and the Otonabee River, and life with my dear wife Sue.

You can find me on this site, LinkedIn, Goodreads, and follow me on Twitter @johnwboyko. I look forward to hearing from you.

Boyko at Commemoration of Death of Sir John A 

Speaking at Kingston gravesite of Sir John A. Macdonald at the anniversary of his death on June 6, 2014.

10 thoughts on “Biography

  1. Hi John

    I recall how much you enriched my daughter’s time at LCS! Thank you and congratulations on your chosen path to fulfillment and happiness!


  2. Hello Mr Boyko,

    I remember how you also enriched my time at LCS, both in class and a memorable trip to Gettysburg. Congratulations on your recent publications, and wishing you success on Crossroads.



  3. John,

    Read your article in Ottawa Citizen today on having Artists on banknotes. Couldn’t agree more. Kudos on your books. Went to your web site and and very impressed. Will need to read further.

    Larry Beaton (south House)


  4. I moved downtown Toronto in 1965 where some draft dodgers became friends. I was 20 years old at the time and not very politically astute. Tonight listening to your interview on CBC I became aware of how much I did know or didn’t know about the Vietnam war. Thank you for bringing me up-to-date. I have always been interested and I appreciate your bottom line candid explanation of the events that took place.
    I look forward to reading your book.
    Joyce Christenson


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