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Fryer, Mary Beacock.

Toronto, Dundurn Press, c1986. 273pp, paper, $14.95, ISBN 1-5 5002-007-2. CIP

Grades 8 and up
Reviewed by John Harkness

Volume 15 Number 3
1987 May

It is sometimes asserted, on the basis of Canada's participation in the Boer War, two world wars, and in Korea, that we have never endured the traumatic consequences of foreign invasion, military occupation, and alien rule. This is not true, of course, although it is over one hundred years since anything approaching a military engagement has taken place on Canadian soil. But military engagements (battles, skirmishes, raids) certainly did dot the pages of the early history of our country's development.

In this pleasantly produced little book, Mary Beacock Fryer encompasses the first three hundred years of Canadian history in featuring sixteen of the most significant battles fought in northern North America. In reality, probably only four sites, at "Louisbourg in 1745 and 1758, Quebec in 1759 and 1760, the Richelieu River-Lake Champlain Corridor from the era of New France to 1813, and the Niagara Peninsula in 1812-1814 can be designated 'real' battlefields." As the author goes on to explain, "fights that occurred in the rest of the country were hardly more than skirmishes."

All fields but one are in Canada, as one would expect from the book's title. The exception is Fort Carillon-Ticonderoga. As this site was of such strategic importance it was included, although, of course, it is found in New York State. All the sites recorded here are accessible, and many are preserved, so this book can serve easily as a tourist guide, as well as a compact history book.

It is enjoyable to leaf through and easy to read. Profusely illustrated with good sketches, photographs, and, very importantly, detailed maps, each chapter sets the context of a battle in terms of the wider struggle of which it was part, and then goes on to describe the hour-by-hour events. The book has included in its 273 pages a twenty-page chronology list of every Canadian battle/skirmish since 1600, a good index, and a useful bibliography for further reading.

John Harkness, Emery C.I., North York, Ont.
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