And We Go On: A Memoir of the Great War, by Will R. Bird
When his dead brother – killed in action – appeared before him in uniform, Bird enlisted in the army to take his place. This memoir covers Bird’s life in the trenches from 1916 to the Armistice, and when it was first published in 1930 it was welcomed as a truly authentic account of the war. Bravery, camaraderie, horror, and savagery all take their place here, along with an unexpected spirituality and interest in the paranormal. A rediscovered classic of the Canadian canon.
Vimy, by Pierre Berton
Based on personal accounts and interviews, Berton shows what it was like for the young men (some only sixteen) who seized Vimy Ridge from the Germans in 1917. It was the first enduring victory of the Great War, and was achieved in hours at a cost of 10,000 casualties. This outcome is truly remarkable in light of the French losses of 150,000 men in their earlier unsuccessful attempt. The battle of Vimy Ridge is widely considered the moment Canada’s national identity emerged and Berton’s haunting narrative illuminates this moment.
Lawrence In Arabia, by Scott Anderson
Critically acclaimed, this book sheds new light on the life and actions of T.E. Lawrence, and on the consequences of imperial arrogance. Anderson introduces the main players that surrounded Lawrence’s World War I exploits bringing to light the machinations and manipulations of the great powers and overturning conventional thought on the formation of the modern Middle East.
Unknown Soldiers, by Neil Hanson
An astonishing three million soldiers remained unaccounted for at the end of the First World War leading an unassuming English chaplain to propose a symbolic burial in their memory – an idea soon widely adopted. Hanson focuses on three soldiers, relying on letters and diaries to show what life was like for some of those who would forever go missing.
The Greatest Victory: Canada’s One Hundred Days, 1918, by J.L Granatstein
In the last hundred days of the Great War, the Canada Corps made astounding contributions to the fight – capturing Amiens, crossing the Canal du Nord, smashing the Hindenburg Line, seizing Cambrai and Valenciennes, and defeating a quarter of the German army in the field. It was a new focus on mobile warfare that allowed these successes, changes that would reverberate in World War II.