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Published: 24 July 2014

304 Pages | 50 b/w figures/8 colour images


ISBN: 9780199009312

Bookseller Code (AJ)

The Greatest Victory

Canada's One Hundred Days, 1918

J. L. Granatstein

  • History in Action. Granatstein is an award-winning historian and astute media commentator, who is also a gifted writer and researcher. From life on the ground for new recruits to the logistics of moving a hundred thousand soldiers at night, this is a compelling and fast-paced read.
  • Draws on first-hand accounts of Canadian soldiers. Granatstein is one of the first historians to make full use of the Canadian Letters and Images Project; some of these accounts by Canadian soldiers are published here for the first time.
  • Richly illustrated. With a two-page colour inserts at some 50 black and white illustration, the reader finds a strong visual context to accompany the text.
  • The first high-quality history of the hundred days of key battles of World War 1, as experienced by Canadian soldiers. History remembers the Canadian contribution to the battle of Vimy Ridge but arguably the most important battles were in the final one hundred days of 1918. It is one of our main contributions to any battle, and would change the course of future warfare.
  • Victory. The book describes a great military triumph, but avoids the triumphalist tone that might weaken this kind of an account. Granatstein does not gloss over expensive mistakes.
  • Canadians as masters of fighting, engineering, and organizing. Canadians were not just considered an elite fighting force, but equally were known for their logistics and engineering (in those days, Canadians could design and construct in record time highly effective rail-lines needed to transport people and machinery).
  • Insights into the expanding role of military hardware. Canadians had no qualms about the heavy use of new technologies, perfecting the use of Lewis guns, machine guns, phosphorus bombs, Stokes mortars, and phosphorus bombs.
  • Fascinating look at the logistics of large-scale battle. Granatstein highlights the importance of intelligence, planning, aerial mapping, knowledge of enemy positions, and engineering; Canadian Corps Commander Arthur Currie knew logistics alongside tough, well-led soldiers, were the key to success. Maurice Pope observes that his staff had just four days to prepare the enormously complicated attack on the Drocourt-Quéant line.
  • From unanticipated treats to unanticipated squalor. Read about the highs and lows (and very lows) of army life in the days before pesticides and antibiotics. From the ways anxious and often bored soldiers maintained their sanity to an impressive array of parasites, Granatstein does not back away from any spine-chilling detail.