At the Sharp End

At the Sharp End

Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1914-1916

Book - 2007
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At the Sharp End covers the harrowing early battles of World War One, when tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, died, before the generals and soldiers found ways to break the terrible stalemate of the front. It provides both an intimate look at the Canadian men in the trenches and an authoritative account of the slow evolution in tactics, weapons, and advancement. Featuring never-before-published photographs, letters, diaries, and maps, this recounting of the Great War through the soldiers' eyewitness accounts is moving and thoroughly engrossing. At The Sharp End is the first comprehensive history of Canadians in World War One in 40 years. It heralds a growing interest in World War One history with a CBC documentary currently under development. Acclaimed Canadian actor Paul Gross is starring in a $20-million feature film to be released in summer 2007.
Publisher: Toronto : Viking Canada, 2007.
ISBN: 9780670067343
Branch Call Number: 940.41271 C771
Characteristics: viii, 599 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.


From Library Staff

List - Stories of War
OttawaReads Nov 04, 2010

The first book of a two-volume study examines the early battles, life in the trenches, and the slow evolution in tactics and weapons. Includes previously unpublished photographs, letters, diaries and maps from the Canadian War Museum. Winner of the 2008 Ottawa Book Award for non-fiction.

List - GCTC 2010-11: Vimy
OttawaReads Dec 08, 2010

Volume 1: At the sharp end, 1914-1916 (Winner of the 2008 Ottawa Book Award for non-fiction).
Volume 2: Shock troops, 1917-1918.

From the critics

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Aug 18, 2013

Extremely well written, multi-layered, with great material. This is a book that begged to be written and Tim Cook does it justice. It should be required reading by an Canadian, a part of our heritage that should not be forgotten, yet generally is.

Apr 03, 2011

World War I reverberates still nearly a century after its start. It was a pivotal event of the last century and though it seems so long ago now its impact on our lives is still felt. Indeed, I knew several veterans of the Great War, a man gassed at Ypres, a chap who was a staff officer in the rear and several others. As well my grandmother often told me about what it was like on the home front.

This book tells about Canada’s contribution to the war effort. Tim Cook tells us about the interfering and self-centred Sam Hughes who was Canada’s defence minister at the time. He recounts the story of the Ross rifle and the useless trenching tool – the one with the hole in the spade. It also tells us that long before Vimy Ridge the Canadian force was already forging a national identity.

As most chronicles of WWI do, this book talks about the squandering of men’s lives in a static war. How quickly death can come to the men doing ordinary things let alone in combat. Even though I have read numerous books about the war I can never understand how the men at the front put up with the conditions there: the mud, the wet, the noise of high explosive shells going off, rats and lice.

The book covers the first 2 years of the war and takes us to the battles of Ypres and the Somme among others and as its title suggests focuses on the Canadians and how they developed into a feared fighting force.

Well-written and fully researched this book adds to our knowledge of the war and is essential to anyone who is interested in WWI and Canada’s history.

Oct 23, 2010

at the sharp end

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