Marching as to War

Marching as to War

Canada's Turbulent Years, 1899-1953

Book - 2001
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"I have called this period Canada's Turbulent Years -- turbulent not only because of the battles we fought on the African veldt, the ravaged meadows of Flanders, the forbidding spine of Italy, and the conical hills of Korea, but turbulent in other ways. These were Canada's formative years, when she resembled an adolescent, grappling with the problems of puberty, often at odds with her parents, craving to be treated as an adult, hungry for the acclaim of her peers, and wary of the dominating presence of a more sophisticated neighbour." --From the Introduction Canada's twentieth century can be divided roughly into two halves. All the wars and all the unnecessary battles in which Canadian youth was squandered belong to the first -- from the autumn of 1899 to the summer of 1953. From the mid-1950s on, Canada has concerned itself not with war but with peace. The first war of the century, which took Canadian soldiers to South Africa, and the last, which sent them to Korea, bracket the bookends on the shelf of history. They have a good deal in common with, these two minor conflicts, whose chronicles pale when compared to the bloodbaths of the two world wars. Canada's wartime days are long past, and for many, the scars of war have healed. Vimy has been manicured clean, its pockmarked slopes softened by a green mantle of Canadian pines. Dieppe has reverted to a resort town, its beaches long since washed free of Canadian blood. Nowadays, Canadians are proud of their role as Peacekeepers, from which they have gained a modicum of international acclaim the nation has always craved, with precious little blood wasted in the process. In this monumental work, Pierre Berton brings Canadian history to life once again, relying on a host of sources, including newspaper accounts and first-hand reports, to tell the story of these four wars through the eyes of the privates in the trenches, the generals at the front, and the politicians and families back home. By profiling the interwar years, Berton traces how one war led to the next, and how the country was changed in the process. Illustrated with maps and line drawings, Marching as to War describes how the experience of war helped to bind Canada together as a nation and chronicles the transformation of Canada's dependence upon Great Britain and its slow emergence as an independent nation caught in a love-hate relationship with the United States.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2001
ISBN: 9780385257251
Branch Call Number: 971.06 BER
Characteristics: 632 p. : ill., maps ; 25 cm


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Aug 27, 2010

Mr berton makes you feel as if you are there in this chronicle of Canada's wars in 20th centruy. How things changed from the Boer War to Korea.

From joiong the fray at the instigation of the United Kingdom to fight for the Empire to Canada making its own decision to enter WWII.

How unprepared for war this country seems to be but how it rose to the demands of war inspite of the political problems that bedevil Canada.

The debacle of the Roos Rifle in WWI, the conscription crisis of 1917 and King's dithering over conscription in WWII. We forget about the Korean War and why we got ourselves into what at first was a UN attempt to isolate and avert a genera; war that became a U.S. show which did at MacArthur's urging almost become a general war.

Berton writes so well that you almost feel at times that your are present when Arthur Currie stands up the Haig whose disregard for casualities must have sickened Currie.

We watch as King dithers over WWII and the mistakes we made in not recognizing the contribution of the merchant navy in the Battle of the Atlantic and the convoys to Britain and Russia that ran the gauntlet of German submarine wolf packs.

This book is good reading and shows how a non-historian can enliven history.

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