Co-winner of the 2014-2015 Charles P. Stacey Award Tim Cook, Canada’s leading war historian, ventures deep into World War Two in this epic two-volume story of heroism and horror, of loss and longing, sacrifice and endurance. Written in Cook’s compelling narrative style, this book shows in impressive detail how soldiers, airmen, and sailors fought—the evolving tactics, weapons of war, logistics, and technology. It gauges Canadian effectiveness against the skilled enemy whom they confronted in battlefields from 1939 to 1943, from the sweltering heat of Sicily to the frigid North Atlantic, and from the urban warfare of Ortona to the dark skies over Germany. The Necessary War examines the equally important factors of morale, discipline, and fortitude of the Canadian citizen-soldiers. The war was an engine of transformation for Canada. With a population of fewer than twelve million, Canada embraced its role as an arsenal of democracy, exporting war supplies, feeding its allies, and raising a 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 the liberal democratic 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. As with his award-winning two-volume series on WWI, Tim Cook uses original sources, letters from soldiers, rare documents, and maps of battlefields to illustrate the contributions and sacrifices made by what is often called the greatest generation. Magisterial in its scope, The Necessary War illuminates Canada’s past as never before. From the Western Front to the home front, Canadians served many roles in a war that had to be fought and won.
The true story of the daredevil flying ace who rivaled the Red Baron, with photos included. This is the first full-length biography of nineteen-year-old Werner Voss, a legend in his lifetime and the youngest recipient of the Pour le Mérite, Germany’s highest award for bravery in WWI. At the time of his death he was considered by many, friend and foe alike, to be Germany’s greatest ace—and, had he lived, Voss would almost certainly have overtaken Manfred von Richthofen’s victory total by early spring of 1918. Voss is perhaps best remembered for his outstanding courage, his audacity in the air, and the prodigious number of victories he achieved before being killed in one of the most swashbuckling and famous dogfights of the Great War: a fight involving James McCudden and 56 Squadron RFC, the most successful Allied scout squadron. Yet the life of Voss and the events of that fateful September day are surrounded by mystery and uncertainty, and even now aviation enthusiasts continue to ask questions about him on an almost daily basis. Barry Diggens was determined to uncover the truth, and September Evening unearths and analyzes every scrap of information concerning this extraordinary young man. Diggens’s conclusions are sometimes controversial but his evidence is persuasive, and this study will be welcomed by, and of great interest to, the aviation fraternity worldwide.
Manfred von Richthofen became a fighter pilot on the Western Front in August 1916. By January 1917, Richthofen had shot down fifteen aircraft had been appointed commander of his own unit. He painted the fuselage of his Albatros D-III a bright red and was nicknamed the Red Baron. In June 1917, Richthofen was appointed commander of the German Flying Circus. Made up of Germany's top fighter pilots, this new unit was highly mobile and could be quickly sent to any part of the Western Front where it was most needed. Richthofen and his pilots achieved immediate success during the air war over Ypres during August and September. Manfred von Richthofen was killed on 21st April 1918. Richthofen had destroyed 80 allied aircraft, the highest score of any fighter pilot during the First World War. This book is divided into three sectors of the WWI front line in which von Richthofen operated. Each area is conveniently reached within hours. Airfield sites, memorials and the graves of Manfred's famous victims are described and directions for the battlefield walker are included with information on related museums and historic sites with special association with this most famous of fighter pilots.
Boris Sergievsky was one of the most colorful of the early aviators. He made his first flight less than ten years after the Wright brothers made theirs; he made his last only four years before the Concorde took off. Born in Russia, Sergievsky learned to fly in 1912. In World War I, he became a much-decorated infantry officer and then a fighter pilot, battling the Austro-Hungarians. During the Russian Civil War that followed, he fought on three fronts against the Bolsheviks. Coming to America in 1923, the first job he could find in New York was with a pick and shovel, digging the Holland Tunnel, but he soon joined Igor Sikorsky’s airplane company. Over the next decade as chief test pilot for the company, he tested the Sikorsky flying boats that Pan American Airways used to establish its world-wide routes, setting seventeen world aviation records along the way. Sergievsky also flew pioneering flights across unchartered African and Latin American jungles in the 1930s, flew with Charles Lindbergh, tested early helicopters and jets, and flew his own Grumman Mallard on charter flights until 1965. Through it all, his sense of humor remained intact, as did his passion for beautiful women.
Nineteen-year-old Lionel Morris left the infantry for the wood and wires of the Royal Flying Corps on the Western Front in 1916, joining one of the world’s first fighter units alongside the great ace Albert Ball. Learning on the job, in dangerously unpredictable machines, Morris came of age as a combat pilot on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, as the R.F.C. was winning a bloody struggle for admiralty of the air. As summer faded to autumn, and the skies over Bapaume filled with increasing numbers of enemy aircraft, the tide turned. On 17 September 1916, Morris’s squadron was attacked by a lethally efficient German unit, including an unknown pilot called Manfred von Richthofen. As the shock waves spread from the empty hangars of No.11 Squadron all the way to the very top of the British Army, the circumstances surrounding Morris’s death marked a pivotal shift in the aerial war, and the birth of its greatest legend. Told through previously unpublished archive material, the words of contemporaries and official records, Lionel Morris and the Red Baron traces a short but extraordinary life; and reveals how Morris’s role in history was rediscovered one hundred years after his death.
In the early years of World War II, it was an amazing feat for an Allied airman shot down over occupied Europe to make it back to England. By 1943, however, pilots and crewmembers, supplied with "escape kits," knew they had a 50 percent chance of evading capture and returning home. An estimated 12,000 French civilians helped make this possible. More than 5,000 airmen, many of them American, successfully traveled along escape lines organized much like those of the U.S. Underground Railroad, using secret codes and stopping in safe houses. If caught, they risked internment in a POW camp. But the French, Belgian, and Dutch civilians who aided them risked torture and even death. Sherri Ottis writes candidly about the pilots and crewmen who walked out of occupied Europe, as well as the British intelligence agency in charge of Escape and Evasion. But her main focus is on the helpers, those patriots who have been all but ignored in English-language books and journals. To research their stories, Ottis hiked the Pyrenees and interviewed many of the survivors. She tells of the extreme difficulty they had in avoiding Nazi infiltration by double agents; of their creativity in hiding evaders in their homes, sometimes in the midst of unexpected searches; of their generosity in sharing their meager food supplies during wartime; and of their unflagging spirit and courage in the face of a war fought on a very personal level.
Winner of both the National Book Award for Arts and Letters and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism, Paul Fussell's The Great War and Modern Memory was one of the most original and gripping volumes ever written about the First World War. Frank Kermode, in The New York Times Book Review, hailed it as "an important contribution to our understanding of how we came to make World War I part of our minds," and Lionel Trilling called it simply "one of the most deeply moving books I have read in a long time." In its panaramic scope and poetic intensity, it illuminated a war that changed a generation and revolutionized the way we see the world. Now, in Wartime, Fussell turns to the Second World War, the conflict he himself fought in, to weave a narrative that is both more intensely personal and more wide-ranging. Whereas his former book focused primarily on literary figures, on the image of the Great War in literature, here Fussell examines the immediate impact of the war on common soldiers and civilians. He describes the psychological and emotional atmosphere of World War II. He analyzes the euphemisms people needed to deal with unacceptable reality (the early belief, for instance, that the war could be won by "precision bombing," that is, by long distance); he describes the abnormally intense frustration of desire and some of the means by which desire was satisfied; and, most important, he emphasizes the damage the war did to intellect, discrimination, honesty, individuality, complexity, ambiguity and wit. Of course, no Fussell book would be complete without some serious discussion of the literature of the time. He examines, for instance, how the great privations of wartime (when oranges would be raffled off as valued prizes) resulted in roccoco prose styles that dwelt longingly on lavish dinners, and how the "high-mindedness" of the era and the almost pathological need to "accentuate the positive" led to the downfall of the acerbic H.L. Mencken and the ascent of E.B. White. He also offers astute commentary on Edmund Wilson's argument with Archibald MacLeish, Cyril Connolly's Horizon magazine, the war poetry of Randall Jarrell and Louis Simpson, and many other aspects of the wartime literary world. Fussell conveys the essence of that wartime as no other writer before him. For the past fifty years, the Allied War has been sanitized and romanticized almost beyond recognition by "the sentimental, the loony patriotic, the ignorant, and the bloodthirsty." Americans, he says, have never understood what the Second World War was really like. In this stunning volume, he offers such an understanding.