The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War

The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War

The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War

The Generals: The Canadian Army's Senior Commanders in the Second World War

Synopsis

Originally published in 1993, The Generals is a collective biography of the Canadian armys leaders in World War II, and is the winner of the Dafoe Book Prize for International Relations and the UBC Medal for Canadian Biography. The only book of its kind on this subject, The Generals remains an invaluable resource for academics, policy makers, and anyone interested Canada's military history. This new edition features an introduction by Dr. David J. Bercuson, Director of the Center for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary.

Excerpt

Now almost fifty years behind us, Canada’s Second World War experience is fading into a past as distant as the Conquest or Confederation for most of the population. What little postwar generations know of the war comes from textbooks that focus more on the evacuation of Japanese Canadians from the West Coast or the struggles of women to keep wartime jobs in the peace than on the national military-industrial effort that mobilized and armed a million men and women in a great crusade to win a just war. Television programs such as “The Valour and the Horror” provide large dollops of misinformation, sometimes twisting the efforts and sacrifices of those who fought the war to suit the producers’ post-Vietnam War sensibilities. No wonder the surviving veterans, their numbers dwindling year by year, feel outraged that their country has forgotten them and, worse still, scorned their sacrifices.

This book may make some veterans angry, too, though not, I trust, for the same reasons. It is an attempt to look at the Canadian army’s war from a unique perspective. Although it is a “top down” history, it is not an examination of generals and their great campaigns. Operations naturally enter into this story, but it is not operational history. Nor does Canada’s role in making Allied political or battlefield strategy figure in — we had none. Instead, this collective biography of the Canadian army’s general officers tries to answer some different questions from those hitherto posed about Canada’s war. Who were our generals and where did they come from? What institutions shaped them and what was their standard of military professionalism? Why did they . . .

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