Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Veterans with a Vision: Canada's War Blinded in Peace and War

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Veterans with a Vision: Canada's War Blinded in Peace and War

Article excerpt

Serge Marc Durflinger, Veterans with a Vision: Canada's War Blinded in Peace and War (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 2010), 484 pp. Cased. $85. ISBN 978-0- 7748-1855-1. Paper. $29.95. ISBN 978-0-7748-1856-8.

This book was a clearly a labour of love. The author dedicates the book to his grandmother, who was blind, and he admits that researching the book took on 'an emotive personal dimension' (p. xiv). As he points out, remarkably little has been written (at least by professional historians) about Canada's veterans, particularly disabled veterans, and even less about the organisations they formed. This book certainly fills the gap for Canada's war blinded. The author had complete access to the voluminous papers of the Canadian National Institute of the Blind (CNIB) and the Sir Author Pearson Association of War Blinded (SAPA), and was able to interview some of the surviving war-blinded veterans, including Bill Mayne, who played an important role in SAPA and to whom the book is dedicated. At the author's own request a CNIB-SAPA editorial committee reviewed the final manuscript. This is then in some senses an official history, sympathetic (but how could it not be) to the plight of the war blinded for 'displaying courage few of us who are sighted will ever be able to understand' (p. 358).

Durflinger begins his account with the history of Lorne Mulloy, the only fully blinded veteran of the South African War, who, despite his handicap, completed a law degree and became a professor of military history at the Royal Military College of Canada. …

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