Sunday, December 26, 2010

Book Reviews

What have I been doing over the Christmas Holidays? Mainly catching up on my reading. Unlike others who go through a bazillion blogs I prefer to read - YES BOOKS ! Partly a life long habit, partly because it's tough to get everything you want in military history online, and partly because genea-computer geeks leave me gasping for breath, and grasping for a dictionary.

This is a look at what I have read. not in depth reviews. That way I can stay out of trouble at least until Monday.

Two of the books are a reread years after I first looked at them. Pierre Burton, “Vimy”, and Daniel G. Dancocks, “Sir Arthur Currie: A Biography”. Both books were written by journalists. Yep, you can tell. Well written, and repeating many of the old cliché’s that recent military historians are questioning.

David Williams, “Media, Memory, and the First World War”. Mr. Williams is an English professor. Yep, you can tell. He never uses a $5 word when a $10 one could be found. I swear that he has made some of them up. You definitely need a dictionary beside you when you read this one.

Andrew B. Godefroy (ed.), “Great War Commands: Historical Perspectives on Canadian Army Leadership 1914-1918”. This one is a recent overview of some of the officers of the Canadian Corps (not army as that designation belongs to the Second World War). A good start in looking at the Canadian Corps. More in depth studies are needed. For me the most interesting article is by Timothy Winegard, “ Lieutenant Colonels Glen Campbell and Andrew T. Thompson and the Evolution of Native Canadian Participation during the First World War”. This is a look at two battalions that served overseas - the 114th. (Brock’s Rangers), and the 107th. (Timber Wolf Battalion)(1). Both battalions had at least 50% of their enlistments from the native communities. On the whole, good stuff, and a good indication of where today’s military historians are headed with their research.

As far as I know none of the above books are online so that means a trip to either the bookstore or the Library. Sorry for your luck folks !

1. The 114th. battalion was broken up in England and used to reinforce other units on the Western Front. The 107th. battalion was initially to be broken up as well but in February 1917 was redesignated a Pioneer battalion. Pioneers are infantry soldiers who who performed minor engineering tasks - ie. digging trenches, the grunt work in building roads, railway lines, etc.

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