Military & War

1658 Wheel out the big guns

Cannon in Canada, Province by Province. Volume 5: British Columbia by Harold Skaarup Fredericton: Global Summit House/ Silverhawk, 2021 $29.99  /  9781956515657 Reviewed by David Morgan * The number and variety of vintage cannon preserved in British Columbia is surprising. Harold Skaarup of Fredericton has documented some 58 in his recent book, Cannon in Canada,…
Read more 1658 Wheel out the big guns

1651 A family divided

Between a Rock and a Hard Place: A Dutch Policeman Fighting the Nazi Occupation by Johanna Van Zanten Las Vegas: Histria Books (Addison & Highsmith Publishers), 2021 $29.99 / 9781592111022 Reviewed by Valerie Green * I always enjoy books set in World War Two, especially those that tell stories of lesser known aspects of the…
Read more 1651 A family divided

1632 Expecting full envelopes

Dear Peter, Dear Ulla by Barbara Nickel Saskatoon: Thistledown Press, 2021 $16.95 / 9781771872232 Reviewed by Alison Acheson * Barbara Nickel’s Dear Peter, Dear Ulla is a gift. While written for tweens to young teens, many adult readers would enjoy it too. The full cast of characters of all ages are well-developed for their roles,…
Read more 1632 Expecting full envelopes

1629 Return to Victory Gardens

Mobilize Food! Wartime Inspiration for Environmental Victory Today by Eleanor Boyle, with a foreword by Tim Lang Victoria: FriesenPress, 2022 $19.99  /  9781039123663 Reviewed by Mary Gale Smith * Almost daily, news headlines – heat waves, drought, hurricanes, land slides, floods, fires, and so on – remind us that climate change is real. The pandemic…
Read more 1629 Return to Victory Gardens

1617 Love in vile places

Love in Vile Places: Military Hospitals as the Site of Care and Nurture by Jo-Anne Fiske * For Remembrance Day 2022 we present a memoir by Jo-Anne Fiske of Fraser Lake, in BC’s north-central interior, of her father Humphrey William Fiske (1886-1959). At the time of his enlistment in Kelowna in 1916, the Norfolk-born Fiske…
Read more 1617 Love in vile places

1512 Aircrew of Bomber Command

Failed to Return: Canada’s Bomber Command Sacrifice in the Second World War by Keith C. Ogilvie Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $26.95 / 9781772033816 Reviewed by Rod Szasz * RCAF Halifax bomber LL178 ploughed into the high Yorkshire moor disintegrating with its nine crew on a cold December night in 1944. Off course and in poor visibility…
Read more 1512 Aircrew of Bomber Command

1466 A dozen kinds of hiding

Sounds from Silence: Reflections of a Child Holocaust Survivor, Psychiatrist and Teacher by Robert Krell Amsterdam: Amsterdam Publishers, 2021 $21.95 (U.S.) / 9493231488 Reviewed by Peter Hay * From the outside, Robert Krell’s memoirs present us with a man of great humanity who, after a long and distinguished career in medicine and psychiatry, has been…
Read more 1466 A dozen kinds of hiding

1431 A naval labour of love

Dutchy’s Diaries: Life as a Canadian Naval Officer in His Own Words, 1916-1929 by John Crispo Inglis “Dutchy” Edwards, edited by Helen Edwards [Victoria]: Helen Edwards, 2020 $29.50  /  9780969728252 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Helen Edwards, a well-known heritage professional researcher in Victoria, has achieved a work of immense importance to naval history in…
Read more 1431 A naval labour of love

1408 Under Russian occupation

My Long List of Impossible Things by Michelle Barker Toronto: Annick Press, 2020 $12.95 / 9781773213644 Reviewed by Valerie Green * This book is possibly one of the best Second World War books out there right now for Young Adults and is especially pertinent in view of current world events. My Long List of Impossible…
Read more 1408 Under Russian occupation

1392 A one-man freedom convoy

man@the_airport: How Social Media Saved My Life. One Syrian’s Story by Hassan Al Kontar New Westminster: Tidewater Press, 2021 $23.95 / 9781777010188 Reviewed by Daniel Gawthrop * Given the staggering human toll of the civil war in Syria since 2011 — half a million dead, more than six and a half million internally displaced, another…
Read more 1392 A one-man freedom convoy

1340 Canada and Vietnam revisited

The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War by John Boyko Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Knopf Canada), 2021 $32.00 / 9780735278004 Reviewed by Howard Macdonald Stewart  * Six Easy Pieces. John Boyko has written a compelling, largely anecdotal history of Canada’s involvement in the Americans’ long years of war in Indochina. It consists…
Read more 1340 Canada and Vietnam revisited

1308 The late life of Muggins

Muggins: The Life and Afterlife of a Canadian Canine War Hero by Grant Hayter-Menzies, with a foreword by Mark Zuehlke Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $22.95 / 9781772033717 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Writing a book totally devoted to a dog is a difficult task but Grant Hayter-Menzies has it down to a fine art. In Muggins:…
Read more 1308 The late life of Muggins

1304 Blunt portraits & candid memoir

All the Rage: A Partial Memoir in Two Acts and a Prologue by Brad Fraser Toronto: Penguin Random House (Doubleday Canada), 2021 $34.00 / 9780385696371 Reviewed by Brett Josef Grubisic * One of the recurring delights of All the Rage is a multi-faceted storytelling technique that reserves a little something for everybody. Whether Brad Fraser…
Read more 1304 Blunt portraits & candid memoir

1301 Goosebumps & unbroken ice

Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages, and the Greatest Naval Mystery of All Time by Michael Palin Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada (Vintage Canada), 2019 $23.00 / 9780735274297 Reviewed by Walter Volovsek * Editor’s note. A vigilant reader of The Ormsby Review might be startled to see Michael Palin’s Erebus: One Ship, Two Epic Voyages,…
Read more 1301 Goosebumps & unbroken ice

1280 To end all wars … again

The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering, and Remaking Canada’s Second World War by Tim Cook Toronto: Penguin Random House (Allen Lane), 2020 $25.00 / 9780735238374 Reviewed by Ron Verzuh * Editor’s note: On previous Remembrance Days at The Ormsby Review we’ve published moving and personal essays and reflections by Michael Sasges, Howard…
Read more 1280 To end all wars … again