No Place to Run: The Canadian Corps and Gas Warfare in the First World War Hardcover – Oct 1 1999
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No Place to Run provides a challenging re-examination of the function of gas warfare in WWI, showing not only its important role in delivering victory in the campaigns of 1918 but also its postwar legacy. University Press Books Selected for Public and Secondary School Libraries (2000) Well researched and well written, this detailed study describes how the Canadian Corps in the Great War reacted to gas warfare and learned both how to cope with it and how to use it. What makes Cook's book so interesting is his emphasis on the psychological threat posed by gas warfare. A fine study. All levels. -- J. Granatstein Choice Tim Cook takes his readers on a fascinating, horrific, and ultimately important journey through the terrifying gas warfare experiences of the Canadian Corps during the First World War. In an exhaustively researched, well-written work offering a large number of firsthand accounts, Cook powerfully conveys the meaning of gas warfare to a Canadian soldiery at first wholly unprepared for its unsheathing ... Cook's first-rate book ably fills a gap in the literature on Canada's participation in the First World War and makes a major contribution to our understanding of this underexplored aspect of Canadian military history. -- Serge M. Durflinger CBRA 4037
About the Author
Tim Cook is an archivist at the National Archives of Canada in Ottawa.
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Cook, an historian at the Canadian War Museum, analyses in great detail the evolution of the attack and defence doctrines. While the subject of gas is gripping for its ability to destroy morale and wound (Cook notes only a small percentage of soldiers were killed), it was the psychological effects of gas that were so debilitating. Fighting efficiency was attrited by forcing soldiers to put on respirators. Much like during the Gulf War I, 1990-1, perhaps the greatest impact of gas was on the mind, both on soldiers and commanders. Cook rightly takes to task those historians who write-off chemical warfare after the introduction of the respirator in 1916; gas continued to be used, and in greater concentrations throughout the war. By the final year, 1918, gas shells accounted for at least a quarter of all shells fired on the Western Front. In Cook’s words, soldiers were forced to fight through a chemical battlefield, the only one in the history of warfare.
This important study, which won the C.P. Stacey award for the best book in Canadian military history and put Cook up with the likes of Desmond Morton, J.L. Granatstein, Marc Milner, and Terry Copp, illustrates that historians have failed to pay sufficient attention to the impact of gas on the battlefield. Perhaps more importantly, this is a ground-breaking book in exploring how soldiers coped on the battlefield. This book is highly recommended.
Not a book for "casual" reading, but for the WWI student it offers great clarity on a topic not often discussed in detail in most WWI books. There are many WWI books that should be read before this one, but once a detailed familiarity with the war has been achieved, this book becomes essential reading. "No Place to Run" completes many tales.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The work is well organized and highly informative, and only benefits from its narrowed focus on the Canadian gas warfare experience. The author closely examines the give-and-take struggle between offensive (research and gas employment doctrine) and defensive (anti-gas equipment, doctrine, and training) gas warfare. He also covers an area neglected by some historians, explaining some of the reasons why gas has been so singled out for derision following WWI.
Particularly useful was the information dealing with the development, maintenance, and adjustment of the Canadian Corps' anti-gas training program. The problems faced by the Canadians in their program-- training time and resourcing, soldier confidence in equipment (or lack thereof), squashing pernicious and incorrect rumors, et cetera-- often mirror issues faced by modern chemical soldiers and officers; so do some of the solutions the Canadian gas units used.
All in all, the breadth, depth, and organization of this work all demand that I rate this highly and recommend it to my colleagues.
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