A Family of Brothers
By J. Brent Wilson; published by Goose Lane Editions; 271 pages.
They fought at Ypres in 1915, the Somme at Courcelette and Regina Trench in 1916, and Vimy Ridge, Hill 70, and Passchendaele in 1917. They were part of the battles at Amiens and the Hundred Days campaign of 1918. The 26th Battalion was the only infantry unit from NB to serve continuously on the Western Front until the Armistice in 1918. More than 5,700 soldiers passed through its ranks: 900 killed and nearly 3,000 wounded. A Family of Brothers tells the powerful story of the “Fighting 26th,” from their mobilization to the aftermath of the war, offering a compelling account of the soldiers, their experiences, and how their lives would be transformed.
By Zbigniew Czajkowski; published by Pen & Sword; 176 pages.
With the Soviet Army’s arrival imminent, the Polish Underground fighters decided to wage open warfare against the hated Nazi occupiers, despite the chronic shortage of arms, ammunition and medical support. They expected the Soviets to relieve them gratefully for hastening the defeat of the Germans. With cruel and calculated cynicism, the Soviets halted their offensive and let the uneven match be settled without their involvement. The outcome was inevitable. Warsaw was largely destroyed; Polish men, women and children fighters crushed and the Nazis weakened. Then the Soviets moved in.
Memories of a World War I Canadian Solider
By Ken Ross; published by St. Croix Historical Society; 154 pages.
Rejected by Canadian Army 1915; slipped through exam 1916. Had to wear shoes 1 ½ sizes too large in the war. His life spared by a German soldier in first days at the front. Stole the battalion commander’s chicken dinner. Participated in front-line truce after March 1, 1917 gas raid. Hospitalized for shell-shock at Vimy Ridge. Decorated by King George V for performance in trench raid. Led his platoon to Mons where British Army joined the war. Felt no resentment against German soldiers.
The Necessary War
By Tim Cook; published by Allen Lane; 608 pages.
With a population of fewer than twelve million, Canada embraced its role as an arsenal of democracy, exporting supplies, feeding allies, and raising a one-million-strong armed forces that served and fought in nearly every theatre of war. The nation was mobilized like never before in the fight to preserve order. The six-year-long exertion caused disruption, provoked nationwide industrialization, ushered in changes to gender roles, exacerbated the tension between English and French, and forged a new sense of Canadian identity. Canadians were willing to bear almost any burden and to pay the ultimate price in the pursuit of victory.
The Island of Sea Women
By Lisa See; published by Scribner; 374 pages.
Two girls from very different backgrounds, begin working in their village’s all-female diving collective. Over many decades—through Japanese colonialism, World War II, the Korean War, and the era of cellphones—Mi-ja and Young-sook develop a close bond. Still, their differences are impossible to ignore: Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position. After hundreds of dives and years of friendship, their relationship will be pushed to the breaking point.
All of these titles, and more, are available at St. Croix Public Library.