Oct 18, 2011


I'm not blogging very much lately! Sorry, we have visitors and are pleasantly immersed in fun. Also, my visitors have taken over reading duties to my children so I don't have much in the way of kids' book news. As the grandparents have taken over many of my duties, I do have time to read!

I finally read Vimy (CA, JP, US) by Pierre Berton, which I brought when I moved to Japan last millenium, thinking I would have a lot of time sitting in my apartment to read. I did, but I was more interested in my new country than my former one at that time (oh how the tides change!). Now that a club I follow online is reading Vimy I realized t was time to bring it out of its box and actually read it. Now I am wondering what took me so long.

Vimy is not for the faint of heart. It goes into detail of how bloody and brutal it was for our young men, under Arthur Currie and Julian Byng, on the front lines on the 4 days from Easter Monday 1917, in miserable weather conditions, as they successfully pushed to capture Vimy Ridge from the Germans under Ludwig von Falkenhausen. This was a feat that the Allies from much stronger military traditions could not accomplish in the previous parts of the war, and it seems that the Canadians' creativity was partly responsible for this win, a turning point not only in the way but also in Canadian nationhood.

What I like about Berton's work is that although it reads like a well-written novel, with a cast of characters that are achingly human, he does not ignore his own knowledge on how this fits into our history. Berton is a well-respected writer precisely because he is Berton, and that shines through in his non-fiction books as well as his newspaper articles and tv shows, and his voice shines through here.

I had read another of Berton's histories, The Last Spike (CN, JP, US), while I was in university. I wasn't displeased with it, but remember thinking that it didn't quite live up to the excitement of the Russian history books I was reading concurrently for my course, and was less dramatic as well! Now that I'm no longer that obsessed with Russian history I'd like to re-read The Last Spike and I think my opinion will have improved.

This was my 11th book for the 5th Canadian Book Challenge


  1. Ooooh, I'm going to see Vimy on France trip in March. I ashamedly know next to nothing about it yet. I really should read this.

  2. I went on a school trip when I was in Junior High, and I really didn't appreciate it as much then as I would now. I was more interested in the sheep eating the grass and looking out for land mines. Definitely read this before you go!


If you enjoyed this post, please feel free to share it.

I love comments! They make my day.