Canada in the Great Power Game: 1914-2014

Canada in the Great Power Game: 1914-2014

Book - 2014
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Canada in the Great Power Game 1914-2014 is a serious contemplation of what it means to engage in major world conflicts, and the price we pay when we do.

     The First World War was Canada's baptism of fire, or at least the only one that people now remember. (Montrealers in 1776 or Torontonians in 1814 would have taken a different view.) From 1914 to 1918, after a century of peace, Canadians were plunged back into the old world of great power rivalries and great wars. So was everybody else, but Canadians were volunteers. We didn't have to fight, but we chose to, out of loyalty to ideas and institutions that today many of us no longer believe in. And we have been doing the same thing ever since, although we haven't quite given up on the latest set of ideas and institutions yet. In Canada in the Great Power Game , Gwynne Dyer moves back and forth between the seminal event, the First World War, and all the later conflicts that Canada chose to fight in. He draws parallels between these conflicts, with the same idealism among the young soldiers, and the same deeply conflicted emotions among the survivors, surfacing time and again in every war right down to Afghanistan. And in each case, the same arguments pro and con arise--mostly from people who are a long, safe way from the killing grounds--for every one of those "wars of choice."
     Echoing throughout the book are the voices of the people who lived through the wars: the veterans, the politicians, the historians, the eyewitnesses. And Dyer takes a number of so-called excursions from his historical account, in which he revisits the events and puts them in context, pausing to ask such questions as "What if we hadn't fought Hitler?" and "Is war written in our genes?"
     This entertaining and provocative book casts an unsparing eye over what happens when Canada and the great powers get in the war business, illuminating much about how we see ourselves on the world stage.
Publisher: Toronto : Random House Canada 2014
ISBN: 9780307361691
0307361691
9780307361684
0307361683
Branch Call Number: 971.06 D988c
Characteristics: 423 pages, 12 unnumbered pages illustrations ; 24 cm

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HROPERTZ
May 22, 2015

How do you account for the loss of approximately 60,000 Canadian soldiers in WW I? Sadly you cannot. Most Historians argue that this human sacrifice was necessary to preserve peace, liberty and freedom in Canada. This position is disingenuous. In 1914 Canada was a country without a Constitution. charter or even a flag. Woman could not vote. Most Canadians volunteered to fight because they were influenced by Imperial propaganda or simply did not know better. Canadians of Ukrainian, Polish and Serbian descent were sent to detention camps. Chinese Canadians who helped build the National Railway in 1885 were faced withe burden of a $500 Head Tax and endured humiliation and racism. Military Regiments in 1914 would not allow any Chinese participation. Where was their freedom and rights? Hey did we not go to war to defend democracy? How could we preserve it when we did not enjoy it at home? Mr. Dyer's book provides an unique, riveting and unsettling account of how we valued the soldiers we so foolishly and recklessly sent off to war!

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