________________ CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 1 . . . . September 4, 2009


Dieppe: Canada's Darkest Day of World War II.

Hugh Brewster.
Toronto, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2009.
48 pp., hardcover, $19.99.
ISBN 978-0545-99420-0.

Subject Headings:
Dieppe Raid, 1942-Juvenile literature.
Canada-Armed Forces-History-World War, 1939-1945-Juvenile literature.
World War, 1939-1945-Canada-Juvenile literature.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Thomas F. Chambers.

**** /4


Dieppe was one of several French ports targeted for possible raids early in 1942. Only 107 kilometres across the Channel, it was thought to be lightly defended and to have beaches suitable for landings. An important enemy radar station stood on the cliffs west of the town. Perhaps 500 commandos could knock it out? Soon, however, Dieppe was selected as a site for a larger raid—one that might satisfy the Russians and Americans. And using Canada's 2nd Infantry Division would satisfy the clamour for action by the Canadian generals as well.


Press reports recently indicated that Canadians are largely ignorant of their country's history. Many, for example, do not know that Canada's first Prime Minister was Sir John A. MacDonald. It is a good bet then that they have also not heard of the raid on Dieppe during the Second World War and the role of Canadian soldiers in this sad story. Dieppe: Canada's Darkest Day of World War II will help correct this lack of awareness, at least for the young people fortunate enough to read the book.

     Dieppe is a splendid book which accurately portrays everything about the raid, including its planning, execution and failure and its aftermath for the fortunate soldiers who survived. It even covers the sixty-fifth reunion in 2007.

Internal art

     There are no chapters as such, but every two pages highlight an important part of the raid, such as "Across the Channel by Night" and "Attack at Green Beach." Though the book is brief, readers even learn something about the personalities of the brave men involved as well as their actions. It should kindle the imagination of its readers and encourage them to learn more about their country's history, and in particular, that of its armed forces. Ideal for classroom use, it raises many thought-provoking questions, and imaginative teachers will find many ways with which to use it.

     Dieppe has an index, a small bibliography, a Website of useful sites and a glossary of terms mentioned in the book. A special section, "Dieppe Veterans," highlights the post World War II careers of some veterans. The book is well illustrated throughout with functional black and white and colour photographs, colour paintings, and a map of Europe showing the location of Dieppe and the amount of the continent controlled by the Axis powers. Another shows the French coast where Dieppe is located while a third smaller map shows the details of Green Beach which was attacked by members of the Cameron Highlanders of Canada and the South Saskatchewan Regiment.

     Historian Hugh Brewster, the author of this book, has written numerous books for children including Amazing Answers to All Your Questions About the Titanic and At Vimy Ridge. His writing style is perfect for the intended audience.

Highly Recommended.

Thomas F. Chambers, a retired college teacher, lives in North Bay, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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The Manitoba Library Association
ISSN 1201-9364
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