Military & War

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…
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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,…
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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…
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1193 From Scapa Flow to Lord Byng

In Action with Destroyers 1939-1945: the Wartime Memoirs of Commander J.A.J. Dennis, DSC, RN by J.A.J. Dennis (author) and Anthony Cumming (editor) Barnsley, South Yorkshire, UK: Pen and Sword Maritime, 2017 £19.99 (U.K.) / 9781526718495 Reviewed by Michael L. Hadley * BC books and authors offer a rich palette of local and international perspectives. They…
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1191 A walk into the past

Painted Fences by Sara Cassidy, illustrated by Sydney Barnes Victoria: Heritage House, 2021 $19.95 / 9781772033519 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Sara Cassidy’s children’s book Painted Fences is an excellent way of offering a delightful story within a story for young children ages 8 to 12. At the same time it teaches them about the…
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1150 Personalities of the Western Front

Heard Amid the Guns: True Stories from the Western Front, 1914-1918 by Jacqueline Larson Carmichael Victoria: Heritage House, 2020 $26.95 / 9781772033373 Reviewed by Alan Livingstone MacLeod * Jacqueline Larson Carmichael’s Heard Amid the Guns is a book inspired by her two granddads, each a soldier of the First World War who survived. The author…
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1146 Mission to Quetzaltenango

Leading at the Edge: True Tales From Canadian Police in Peacebuilding and Peacekeeping Missions Around the World by Ben J.S. Maure Vancouver: Ben Maure, 2020 $29.95 / 9780995034303 Reviewed by May Q. Wong * The Canadian military has, since 1954, participated in missions that support peace and stability around the world. In fact, it has…
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1115 An artist in the wreckage of war

I Can Only Paint: The Story of Battlefield Artist Mary Riter Hamilton by Irene Gammel Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queens University Press, 2020 $49.95 / 9780228003915 Reviewed by Robert Amos * Mary Riter Hamilton was a Canadian artist born in Culross, Ontario in 1867. Following a difficult childhood she was married at 21 and widowed at…
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1095 Iniquity on the Gulf Islands

As if They Were the Enemy: The Dispossession of Japanese Canadians on Saltspring Island by Brian Smallshaw Victoria: University of Victoria, 2020 $24.95  /  9781550586671 (available at UVic bookstore for $24.95 plus shipping costs, or direct from b@pixelmap.ca for $26.00 including postage) Reviewed by Marie Elliott * Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, December…
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#961 From Quilchena to Flanders

ESSAY: Remembering John Foster Paton Nash by Michael Sasges For Remembrance Day 2020, Michael Sasges presents the life of Nicola Valley rancher John Foster Paton Nash (1866-1916). John Nash’s name is on three Great War memorials.  The first is at his school in England, King William’s College on the Isle of Man; the second is…
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#823 Canadian internment legacies

Civilian Internment in Canada: Histories & Legacies by Rhonda L. Hinther and Jim Mochoruk (editors) Winnipeg: University of Manitoba Press, 2020 $31.95 / 9780887558450 * The Stories Were Not Told: Canada’s First World War Internment Camps by Sandra Semchuk Edmonton: University of Alberta Press, 2019 $34.99 / 9781772123784 * Harry Livingstone’s Forgotten Men: Canadians and…
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#810 Pawns in the Hitler Youth

Secrets in the Shadows by Heige S. Boehm Vancouver: Ronsdale Press, 2019 $14.95 / 9781553805724 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Secrets in The Shadows is the story of two boyhood friends, Michael and Wolfgang (Wolfie), growing up in Nazi Germany in the 1930s. But it is also so much more. Author Heige S. Boehm has…
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#806 The Empire strikes back

Perseverance: The Life of William Fernie, the Man Who Caught Billy Miner by Ron Hatch Kamloops: Thompson Rivers History and Historical Society, 2019 $24.95 / 9780991689910 Available by email from trhhs2012@gmail.com, from Kamloops Chapters, and from Amazon.ca Reviewed by Wayne Norton * Bill Miner attracts a remarkable amount of interest from students of Kamloops history….
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#748 Collishaw of the western desert

Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign, 1940-1941 by Mike Bechthold Norman, Oklahoma: Oklahoma University Press, 2017 $34.95 (U.S.) / 9780806155968 Reviewed by John Hinde * In his recent book, Flying to Victory: Raymond Collishaw and the Western Desert Campaign, 1940-1941, Mike Bechthold points out that “May 1941 marked a pivotal transitional…
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#745 The secret spy of Salt Spring

Agent Jack: The True Story of MI5’s Secret Nazi Hunter by Robert Hutton London: St. Martin’s Press, 2019. Distributed in Canada by Raincoast Books Reviewed by Julian Wake * When I first read Eric Roberts’ Salt Spring Saga, someone here on Salt Spring — my home — told me that he had been an important…
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#737 Canada vs Germany in Italy

The River Battles: Canada’s Final Campaign in World War II Italy by Mark Zuehlke Madeira Park: Douglas & McIntyre, 2019 $37.95 / 9781771622356 Reviewed by Richard Lonsdale * Twenty-five years ago there were very few popular book-length histories of the Canadians in the Italian Campaign of World War II. We can thank award-winning author Mark…
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#721 Five British Columbia battalions

The Empire on the Western Front: The British 62nd and Canadian 4th Divisions in Battle by Geoffrey Jackson Vancouver: UBC Press, 2019 $34.95 / 9780774860154 Reviewed by James D. Barrett * Geoffrey Jackson’s readable study of the performance of the 62nd Division British Expeditionary Force (BEF) and the 4th Canadian Division (CEF) hits the mark…
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#699 Reply to a cenotaph

Once Well Beloved: Remembering a British Columbia Great War Sacrifice by Michael Sasges Victoria: Royal British Columbia Museum Press, 2019 $17.95 / 9780772672551 Reviewed by Sylvia Crooks * The national trauma of the First World War, even though it was fought over one hundred years ago, is still deeply felt today. Michael Sasges’ Once Well…
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