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Canada at War: A Graphic History of World War Two [Paperback]

Paul Keery , Michael Wyatt
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
List Price: CDN$ 24.95
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Book Description

May 4 2012

A beautifully crafted graphic novel, tracing the achievements of the Canadian Forces in the Second World War.

In 1914, Canada went to war as a subject of Britain. In 1939, it made the choice to fight all on its own.Canada at War follows the developments and setbacks, wins and losses, of a nation learning to stand up for itself in the midst of the most difficult war of the 20th century.

In graphic-novel format, fully illustrated and in full colour, Canada at War shows the growth of a nation's army, navy and air force through movingly depicted triumphs and tragedies. From the disheartening losses at Dieppe and Hong Kong through the Battle of the Atlantic and the invasion of Sicily, it focuses on the human dimension of the key battles and decisions that ultimately swung the war in the Allies' favour.

This poignant graphic account ends, after the victories of D-Day and Juno Beach and the liberation of Europe, with a final reckoning of the legacy these storied years have had on a country forged through war. Aimed at both adult and young adult readers, this very human history tells the stories behind some of this country's most distinguishing military moments.

Short-listed for the Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award.


Frequently Bought Together

Canada at War: A Graphic History of World War Two + The Ultimate Collected History of World Wars I & II: A box set of two reference books with 1000 photographs
Price For Both: CDN$ 37.24

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Review

"This account emphasizes the human dimension of the struggle and features clean, realistic color art with ample text blocks as well as dialog. Intended for both adults and young adults, this should be useful in history classes throughout North America in addition to appealing to WWII buffs and aficionados of war comics." (Library Journal 2012-05-03)

"The lesson of Canada at War is of Canadian soldiers' bravery and perseverance amid harsh and brutal conditions." (Winnipeg Free Press 2012-05-11)

"In Canada at War, author Paul Keery and illustrator Michael Wyatt have produced a winning combination that recounts Canadaís massive contribution to the Second World War. It is specially intended for those readers brought up on visual stimuli and who need more than text alone to convince them to read -- let alone enjoy a book...In seven chapters, Canada at War does an outstanding job of chronicling the efforts of the Royal Canadian Navy, Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force in the major campaigns in which they fought." (John Boileau Chronicle Herald 2012-05-20)

"I found this an interesting graphic novel, well illustrated and something that I would imagine would make an excellent history primer for kids. Adults would also of course, enjoy the book...The full colour illustrations are excellent and stylistic..." (David Pugliese Ottawa Citizen 2012-06-13)

"In graphic-novel format, fully illustrated and in full colour, Canada at War shows the growth of a nation's army, navy and air force through movingly depicted triumphs and tragedies...Aimed at both adult and young adult readers, this very human history tells the stories behind some of this country's most distinguishing military moments." (Brampton Guardian 2012-06-07)

"Keery and Wyatt's concise and visually enriched version of Canada's role and military experiences in that period and event include a simple reminder as well: the United States' great big (geographically) neighbor to the north is not an addendum to our own national experience and culture; Canada is a nation and state of its own, with diversifying edification for us 'Americans'...[Keery] provides a clear and focused accounting of Canada's participation on the Allies' behalf...Wyatt's expressive and brilliantly inked images individual politicians, military leaders, and landscapes, as well as common soldiers and sailors and pilots in frightening spaces and events..." (School Library Journal 2012-10-04)

About the Author

Paul Keery holds degrees in history, law, library and information science, and education. In 2007, he was selected as an Apple Distinguished Educator in recognition of his work in integrating technology into classroom teaching. Keery has published a history book for young people, Maple Leaf Forever, on the history of Canada's Confederation, as well as articles for a number of newspapers and professional journals.

Michael Wyatt is a self-taught artist who began his career as a freelance illustrator and graphic designer in 2006. His original designs have appeared on everything from greeting cards to hockey jerseys. He has contributed artwork to Kayak and Legion magazines, and his cartoons and caricatures are syndicated internationally.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Learned lots. June 4 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
It was very appealing and appropriate for the keen 9 year old historian I purchased it for. Although I was nervous about the "graphic" part it is real history. I learned a lot about the Canadian contribution to WW2. It also helped me understand the reasons for the war and the timeline of events. The art is great.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well Done! July 3 2012
By Jeffrey Swystun TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
I downloaded this graphic history to my iPad and applaud the author and illustrator for their efforts. This is an entertaining and educational reminder of the incredible sacrifices and accomplishments Canada's armed forces contributed during The Second World War. It should be required reading for all grade school students who will enjoy the format's striking imagery and content. Of course, it must be considered an introductory overview as it does not provide a detailed history but all key aspects are present: Atlantic convoys, wartime production, Dieppe, the home front, Ortona, D-Day, the liberation of Holland. Canada fielded a force of over 1 million out of a population of 10 million with 42,000 deaths. Amazingly, the country efficiently and effectively mobilized for war and once it was over quickly de-mobilized (some might argue too quickly and too dramatically). Canadians must continue to understand and honour their military history - this is a fine contribution to that effort.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very useful for teaching children about war. Oct. 29 2012
By Bruce
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book to teach my daughters a bit about Canada's participation in World War II. This book is less of a "comic" and much more a "graphic novel", which is ideal for instructing. My daughter read it with interest.

I thought it was well written. Obviously you can only hit the highlights when you are using this format, but what was there was very good.
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good History? Maybe. Good Graphic Novel? No. Aug. 22 2012
By Schecky
Format:Paperback
Unlike more prominent historical graphic "novels" in recent years, CANADA AT WAR is not being pitched at the literary comics market, but at the educational/library market. Which is fine, aside from the fact that the book seems so cynically crafted to cash in on the "graphic novel" craze amongst educators and librarians.

The author himself writes, on his website, "we have to adapt to changing times, while doing what we can to retain and strengthen the best of traditional ways." Ignoring the fact that there's nothing "new" about comics (which have been around in their modern form for well over a century), he should have done what he could to embrace the "new" ways. Because CANADA AT WAR has none of the subtlety and depth of contemporary comics. It is, in fact, much more like simply a heavily-illustrated book, with long narrative captions describing a piece of history, atop an illustration depicting that very thing. There is no interplay, ironic or otherwise, between word and image, no subtext, no nuance to the characters' "performances," no refined sense of timing, or any of the things that have made graphic novels the popular publishing phenomenon that the authors so desperately desire to be part of.

I admire any effort to bring history to a mass audience, and to young people in particular. But the impact would be so much greater were the medium (which is such an expressive one) being used well. It isn't, here. Historical comics, and non-fiction war comics in particular, are anything but "new." There are many terrific examples of each. If you're an educator looking for something informative AND artful, I'd try one of them, instead.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Overview of the Canadian contribution to the Second World War Nov. 5 2012
By Matthew Higgins - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a good overview of the Canadian contribution to the Second World War. The book does a good job with both the fight against the Germans and the Japanese. As it is arranged thematically, it does need to be backed with a larger work on the Second World War to get the most out of it. This reader was not all that keen on the CGI illustrations but the art is clear enough that the graphic aspect of this graphic history works.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant overview of Canada's involvement Oct. 24 2012
By Jon Dykstra - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Half way through Canada at War I realized it was filling in an odd gap in my education. I had read about the Dutch experience of World War II in great kids' books like Anne de Vries' Journey Through the Night and Piet Prins' Scout: The Secret of the Swamp, and a love of classic war films like Casablanca and Twelve O'Clock High had given me a good sampling of the American perspective. But I don't know if I've ever seen the war through Canadian eyes.

Canada at War is a "graphic history" - otherwise known as a comic - but it would be a mistake to dismiss this as fluffy kids' stuff. It is weighty and well-researched and would be best understood as an illustrated history textbook. It includes chapters on:

- Canada before the war
- Canada's early defeats defending Hong Kong from the Japanese and attacking German-held Dieppe, France
- The creation and impact of Canada's Air Force
- The Canadian Navy's seemingly impossible task of protecting the Atlantic supply chain from U-boat attacks
- The costly lessons our Army learned in Sicily and Italy
- The joint invasion of Europe
- The Canadian role in the liberation of the Netherlands and the final defeat of Germany

Author Paul Keery, and illustrator Michael Wyatt do a masterful job of explaining, in just 176 pages, how Canada went from having next to no military to, in the space of just five years, becoming the third most powerful fighting force in the world. And they give readers a good understanding of just how much we owe the 1 million men who served.

Cumulatively the pictures are worth many thousands of words. Descriptions can't quite convey the information available in a picture of a sailor waste deep in water on a leaky Corvette assigned to protect otherwise defenseless supply ships on their way to Britain. There is also a lot packed into a single frame, where we see a bomber pilot relaxing at his home base, happy to have survived another bombing run, but knowing that he has only a 1 in 4 chance of living through to the end of his tour.

The style of the visuals is also striking: it's a mix of quite realistic computer animation and solid simple lines. Illustrator Michael Wyatt shows us action and lots of it including planes being blown apart and submarines being sunk. Wyatt uses great restraint, showing the results of war - the blood, death and destruction - without dwelling on the gory detail. This bloody detail is most often muted, either by being obscured (often times by making use of silhouette images) or by being skipped right over. For example, in one exchange we see a soldier with blood on his face, but only learn how it happened from the caption. But as should be expected in a "graphic history" or World War II, there are a few "graphic" frames. However, Canada at War is intended for a young adult readership, so these pictures are unlikely to shock them. I've included a few of these frames in my review at ReallyGoodReads.com, so that parents can evaluate them for themselves.

An impacting book, that will give this generation a far better understanding of what their grandparents and great grandparents endured to give them the Canada they see today.
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