Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lest we forget. . .

My fellow Deweys know about my passion and fascination for all things relating to the First World War, and they are always alerting me to new books covering that devastating period. And I promise to get to them, I will! Tomorrow I'll blog about the WWI book I'm just finishing up now, but I wanted to acknowledge a couple of very interesting books that I'll be browsing through this week as well.

Oxford University Press published a much needed anthology of Canadian war poetry earlier this year. Canadian Poetry from World War I, edited by Joel Baetz contains more poems from John McCrae than just his famous "In Flanders Fields", and war poems by well-known Canadian poets E.J. Pratt, Frank Prewett, Duncan Campbell Scott and Robert Service to name a few. The collection also includes contributions by many women poets that I'm unfamiliar with, but look forward to reading.

From McArthur & Company comes Juliet Nicholson's The Great Silence: 1918-1920 Living in the Shadow of the Great War which is a great bookend to her previous book, The Perfect Summer: Dancing into Shadow in 1911. Both promise a detailed and interesting sociological look at the many levels of British society before and after the war, including the many ways in which the lives of women were drastically altered.

And somewhat related, I'll also be buying a copy of L.M. Montgomery's The Blythes Are Quoted - a collection of short stories (some never before published) about Anne and Gilbert and their family, both before and just after the First World War. Readers of Rilla of Ingleside will remember that two of Anne's sons go off to fight in France, with only one returning.

Also for younger readers is Jack Batten's new book The War to End All Wars: The Story of World War I which provides a good overview of the conflict, and highlights the individual stories of Canadians who fought - both men who were famous such as Billy Bishop, and boys such as 18 year old Ray Goodyear, who was one of the many, many Newfoundlanders who lost their lives in France. I enjoyed Batten's earlier book, Silent In An Evil Time which told the story of Edith Cavell, the British nurse who was executed by the Germans during the war - it's also an excellent overview of the history of the nursing profession up to that time.

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