Book - 1986
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On Easter Monday 1917 with a blizzard blowing in their faces, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in France seized and held the best defended German bastion on the Western Front - the muddy scarp of Vimy Ridge. The British had failed to take the ridge, and so had the French who had lost 150,000 men in the attempt. Yet these magnificent colonial troops did so in a morning at the cost of 10,000 casualties

The author recounts this remarkable feat of arm with bold pace and style. He has gathered many personal accounts from Soldiers who fought at Vimy. He describes the commanders and the men, the organization and the training, and above all notes the thorough preparation for the attack from which the British General Staff could have learned much. The action is placed within the context both of the Battle of Arras, of which this attack was part, and as a milestone in the development of Canada as a nation
Publisher: Toronto, Ont. : McClelland & Stewart, c1986
ISBN: 9780850529883
Branch Call Number: 940.431 BER 1986
Characteristics: 336 p. : ill. ; 25 cm


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Jun 15, 2016

An excellent book on the WWI battle of Vimy Ridge which was an all Canadian attack. The author puts a human face to the battle. In addition the author does not overly romanticize the people or the battle. This book should be read by all Canadians

bibliotechnocrat Dec 03, 2015

Berton, himself a Canadian icon, here delivers a moving (and occasionally gruesome) narrative history of the most significant battle - from Canada's point of view - of the "Great War." Still considered the milestone at which Canada reached a kind of independent maturity (in the same way that Gallipoli is thought of as Australia's defining moment), Vimy was the occasion where Canadians showed what they were made of. But Berton is not guilty of romanticizing the conflict. On the contrary, he presents the sickening waste that hubris and stupidity lead to. His concluding line sums up this attitude: "Was it worth it? The answer, of course, is no." I'd like to think we've learned something from history - and in fact it is hard to imagine Canadians today signing up for war with the absurd enthusiasm Berton describes - but we can't learn from history without knowing something about it. This important book is therefore well worth your time.

rb3221 Jul 30, 2015

A GREAT BOOK. This is a story of when Canada came of age, a cornerstone of building a nation. The book is well written and organized into seven chapters on the build-up and five chapters on the battle. It is a very moving story and told very well by Pierre Berton that includes both the misery and the triumph as told through the eyes of the soldiers. Burton has written it as an eye-witness account and not a history book of dates and facts. His extensively researched book allows the reader to see, hear, smell and feel what it was like with many first hand accounts. Details that include the knee deep mud, the incredible noise from the bombs, the blankets full of lice and the rat infested land.
Truly a unique story with a distinctive Canadian perspective and a must read for every Canadian that will make you proud. But in the final analysis, Berton leaves the reader with the question "was it worth it?"

Nov 14, 2012

Berton's best work. Puts a human face on a war increasingly difficult to relate to because of the passage of time. Puts Canada's role in establishing its international identity in historical perspective. A great read

Nov 14, 2012

Excellent account, easy and engaging to read.

Aug 03, 2012

A very good book with many firsthand accounts of life at the front during WWI. Must be taken with a grain of salt- some facts have since been proven untrue.

Jul 13, 2011

Berton's almost hour by hour account of the Battle of Vimy Ridge where Canada was forged as one Nation out of many different peoples.

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