Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Apathetic and the Defiant: Case Studies of Canadian Mutiny and Disobedience, 1812-1919

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

The Apathetic and the Defiant: Case Studies of Canadian Mutiny and Disobedience, 1812-1919

Article excerpt

Craig Leslie Mantle (ed.), The Apathetic and the Defiant: Case Studies of Canadian Mutiny and Disobedience, 1812-1919 (Kingston: Canadian Defence Academy Press, and Toronto: The Dundurn Group, 2007), 496pp. Paper. £28.99. ISBN 978-1-55002-710- 5.

Disobedience in the armed forces can take many forms, from passive resistance to outright mutiny, from refusal to open fire to violent rioting. Sometimes there is a thin line between disobedience that is tacitly acknowledged, or even encouraged, and behaviour that is deemed injurious to a military expedition. Therefore issues of effective leadership are central to understanding how and why the armed forces become undisciplined. The Apathetic and the Defiant: Case Studies of Canadian Mutiny and Disobedience, 1812-1919 is the second of a three-volume study investigating disobedient conduct in Canadian soldiery. Edited by Craig Leslie Mantle, the twelve essays in The Apathetic and the Defiant ably demonstrate that significant acts of indiscipline have marked virtually every military conflict that Canada has been involved in.

The first part of this study deals with nineteenth-century cases, featuring three essays on varieties of discontent during the war of 1812. Each of these essays suggests that manifestations of disobedience in the Royal Navy and the Upper Canadian militia can be similarly explained through the 'promotion of interest' among ordinary soldiery. In the case of the militia, the British could not understand that apathy towards the war came from the fact that these citizen-soldiers were primarily local farmers who would only fight on their terms and when it suited them to do so. Essays on the violent conduct of the Canadian Army in the Northwest (1870-3) and during the Boer War point towards a new era of military disorder as soldiers (mostly young and urban) were sent on punitive expeditions far from their homes where there were no local bonds of intimacy to limit bad behaviour. …

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