Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment

Article excerpt

History

Geoffrey Hayes, Andrew Iarocci and Mike Bechthold (eds), Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment (Waterloo: Laurier Centre for Military, Strategic and Disarmament Studies and Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2007), 358pp. Cased. $38.95. ISBN 0- 88920-508-6.

The publication of Vimy Ridge: A Canadian Reassessment coincides with the celebration of the ninety-year anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, a central battle in Canadian military history. This excellent history explores the circumstances, events and results of the battle from three perspectives: the strategic background and the battle within the wider context of the Western Front in 1917; the events of 9-12 April 1917, focusing on Canadian leadership, training and the story of the four Canadian divisions (this is the longest section); and the aftermath, i.e. the commemoration of the battle by contemporaries and later generations of Canadians. The Battle of Vimy Ridge is viewed as both a military and a cultural event.

The sixteen contributors to Vimy Ridge are all high-ranking scholars. Each section is accompanied by detailed footnotes. The selected bibliography is informative. The text is interspersed with maps demonstrating troop movements. There are also a number of black-and-white photographs featuring commanding officers as well as private soldiers.

This study has a number of innovative contributions: it sets Vimy Ridge in the context of the British Arras offensive (Chapter 1), and examines the contributions of branches which are frequently forgotten, for example artillery engineers and the medical corps. …

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