Granatstein, J.L. and David Bercuson
Reviewed by John Harkness
Reviewed by John Harkness
Volume 20 Number 4
Granatstein and Bercuson's third book in their highly acclaimed series on Canadians and war examines Canada's "other wars." This book does not deal with the major conflicts in which Canadians were involved in the twentieth century, World War I and World War II. Instead, the authors focus on the growth of Canada's military traditions, beginning with the Riel rebellions and ending with the most recent U.N.-sponsored Gulf War against Iraq.
The authors concentrate their efforts on three main areas, most of which are relatively little known to Canadian readers. First, we are given insight into Canadians' part in the
Boer War, 1899-1903. Here we get details of Canada's first military engagement overseas, the Battle of Paardeberg (1899). We read of the octogenarian Lord Strathcona spending the then enormous sum of over half-a-million dollars to raise his own cavalry regiment for service in this war. In all, 8,372 Canadians enlisted for service in the Boer War; "of these, 89 died in action and 135 succumbed to disease."
Secondly, Canada's contribution to the United Nations-sponsored Korean War of 1950-53 is covered. Here we get interesting descriptions of the Canadian army, air and naval forces and their contributions in this conflict so vital in stemming the tide of Russian influence in Southeast Asia at that time.
Thirdly, the authors examine the role for which the Canadian military have become justifiably renowned, that of international peacekeeper. Canada's influence in keeping the peace in such diverse areas as Egypt, Indo-China, the Congo, Cyprus, Namibia, even Oka, Quebec, and finally the role in the recent Gulf War, is well documented.
All these sections are lavishly illustrated with photographs, maps, engravings and paintings drawn from many collections, including that of the Canadian War Museum.
A useful little book for students pursuing research in contemporary Canadian affairs, and therefore recommended for school and college libraries.
John Harkness teaches history at Emery Collegiate Institute in North York, Ontario.
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