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Arthur Bishop.
Toronto, ON: McClelland & Stewart, 1989.
265pp., paper, $5.95.
ISBN 0-7710-1522-4. CIP.

Subject Headings:
Bishop, William A., 1894-1956.
World War, 1914-1918-Aerial operations, British.
Great Britain. Royal Flying Corps-Biography.

Grades 10 and up / Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Marc Shaw.

Volume 17 Number 6
1989 November

Seventy years after the events which made him one of Canada's best-known historical figures, William A. "Billy" Bishop is far from forgotten - witness the success of John Gray's 1970s musical, Billy Bishop Goes to War, and the more recent furor raised by the National Film Board documentary, The Kid Who Couldn't Miss. A literary contribution to the Bishop bibliography is his son's 1965 biography, The Courage of the Early Morning.

While covering Bishop's life from his Owen Sound schooldays to his career as an Ottawa businessman, friend to the rich and famous, The Courage of the Early Morning mainly deals with Bishop's days in France during WWI, where his feats with the Royal Air Force brought him enduring fame. Not the greatest of pilots, but a deadly shot, Bishop finished the war as the top-scoring Canadian or Imperial ace, with seventy-two victims. His deeds won him the Victoria Cross, a host of other decorations and honours, and lasting fame.

This book is a colourful retelling of Bishop's career, written, as one might expect from a dutiful son, with a certain reverence towards the father. Allusions to Bishop's sometimes difficult nature are dealt with lightly; the more heroic aspects of his character are emphasized. Nevertheless, it is a highly readable tale of adventure and the courage of perhaps the quintessential Canadian hero. Those interested in military history and aviation would find it particularly interesting, but the book deserves a wider readership.

Marc Shaw, Kingston, ON.
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