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Chapman, J.K.

Fredericton, Fiddlehead Poetry Books/ Goose Lane Editions, c1985. 103pp, paper, $5.95, ISBN 0-86492-068-7. CIP

Grades 9 and up
Reviewed by Alfred Greenwood

Volume 14 Number 3
1986 May

James Chapman, Professor Emeritus of the University of New Brunswick, where he taught for over thirty years, grew up on the St. John River in Gagetown, New Brunswick. River Boy at War is the third and middle book of the author's reminiscences, originally consisting of River Boy (Brunswick, 1981) and River Boy Returns (Brunswick, 1983).

Like a large proportion of his peers, young Chapman felt he should do his bit to preserve a world in danger of collapsing around his ears. He joined the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1940. River Boy at War tells the story of the next six years. The author survived his tour of operations and eventually returned to his young wife in Canada. He was discharged in 1946.

This slim book is a low-key narration of a turbulent period in a young man's life. It captures the mood of the topsy-turvey times of a nation at war, when the world stage confuses tragedy and comedy and values struggle to maintain a patina of civilization. Well worth the price.

Alfred Greenwood, Victoria, B.C.
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