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C. P. Stacey

Toronto, Macmillan, c1959, 1984.
210pp, paper, $6.95.
Laurentian Library #82.
ISBN 0-7715-9868-8.


Reviewed by Kenneth A. Elliott.

Volume 12 Number 6
1984 November

The siege and fall of Quebec on September 13, 1759 has filled volumes of history and hundreds of canvasses. The present volume is another addition to the collection, but with a difference. One of Canada's most respected historians, Colonel C. P. Stacey was official historian of the Canadian army for the Second World War. He is author of Canada and the Age of Conflict* and A Very Double Life,** among others.

Using materials never before published, Stacey seeks to shed new light and life on the fall of Canada. The events leading up to and immediately following the battle are examined carefully and with as much precision as the documentation permits. He uses primary sources in his research, and where there are conflicts among the texts, these are honestly indicated to the reader. As with most historical events, what actually happened may not always be conveyed accurately for future generations. In his introduction, Stacey discusses this problem and how he attempts to re-write the events from the new documents.

An interesting feature of his style is that he frequently refers to how a particular historical event impinges upon the thoughts and attitudes of twentieth-century Canadians. As he guides the reader along the watery route of the St. Lawrence River, Stacey discusses with the reader what he sees. In a word, this volume reads like a well-developed historical novel. The reader already knows the ending, but the fascination lies in the intricate details.

The characters of Wolfe and Montcalm are analyzed carefully. Without lessening their courage, he peels away much of the legend and exaggeration surrounding them. The old adage of truth being more fascinating than fiction is certainly borne out in this work.

Stacey has written with students in mind. The table of contents lists the nine chapters, in addition to the postscript, appendix, abbreviations and select bibliography, references and index. Each chapter is documented. The twenty-one illustrations and the six maps of the battle areas give the reader a good sense of where things are happening.

*Reviewedvol.X/l 1982 p.32.
**Reviewed vol. V/l Winter 1977 p.37.

Kenneth A. Elliott, Laval Catholic H. S., Chomedey, QB.
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