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Daniel G. Dancocks

Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1991. 508pp, cloth, $34.95
ISBN 0-7710-2544-0. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by John Harkness.

Volume 19 Number 5
1991 October

"Military necessity launched the campaign in Italy, but military politics consigned nearly half of Canada's overseas army to a theatre that was destined eventually to assume second­ary importance to the overall war effort."

In his new book the late Daniel Dancocks writes the story of the above mentioned "half of Canada's overseas army," giving a detailed popular history analysis of its two-year campaign. He follows its successes and failures from the initial wading ashore in Sicily in July 1943 through its step by painful step up the boot of mainland Italy. During the last eight to nine months of this cam­paign these brave Canadians knew that they were playing second fiddle in the eyes of the world to the main events of the D-Day invasion of Normandy and its spectacular aftermath. Hence the title of the book, taken from a popular wartime song referring to those fighting in Italy, "We are the D-Day Dodgers, in Sunny Italy".

Dancocks draws on established sources, personal research and numer­ous interviews to cover every aspect of the Canadian participation in the overall Allied strategy of World War II. A multitude of political, military and personal anecdotes create a sweeping narrative of immense detail; if you fought in this campaign the chances are your name will crop up somewhere in here!

This is a great book for renewing one's acquaintance with many aspects of World War II and Canada's participa­tion therein. It is, as I have said, full of detail, but is still a very readable volume. Dancocks includes sixteen pages of black-and-white photographs, eight clear maps, thirty-nine pages of reference notes, and an index. He also adds a five-page appendix listing all Canadian army formations in Italy on 19 August 1944. The D-Day Dodgers is a must read for all Canadian history and military fans, a production worthy of a place in school and college libraries.

John Harkness, Emery Collegiate Institute, North York, Ont.
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