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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Horrors of the Great War - Part II, Oct. 12 2009
By 
G. Poirier (Orleans, ON, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 (Hardcover)
In this second instalment on his two-volume masterpiece on the Canadians (infantry) in World War I, the author picks up where he left off at the end of "At the Sharp End" (Volume one). Here, the horrors experienced by the soldiers on the Western Front continue to be recounted with just as much gory, heart-wrenching detail as in the first volume. However, in this case, the major battles in which the Canadian Corps undertook were resounding victories - although very costly ones. As before, the life of the trench warrior is the main focus, but the high command is also well covered. What I found particularly fascinating in this volume were the last few chapters in which the last hours and minutes of the war are discussed, as well as the events after the armistice: the soldiers' feelings at not being sent home immediately and the way they expressed their discontent, the eventual incorporation of thousands of returning soldiers into Canadian society, feelings towards the Canadian high command (Currie), the tabulation of the casualty statistics, the adequacy of pensions for disabled soldiers and their families, and how the Great war has been viewed over the decades until the present. As in the first volume, the writing style is clear, authoritative, accessible and always very engaging. The detailing of the various activities of the Canadian Corps's different military units can be a bit overwhelming at times; but the stories of some of the individual selfless sacrifices, astounding acts of heroism and the ultimate accomplishments of the Corps as a whole can leave the reader in awe. Once again, this is a book that can be read and appreciated by absolutely anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars WW1 Understood, Oct. 23 2009
By 
John Sargeant "The General Sir Arthur Currie ... (London, Ontario Canada) - See all my reviews
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Tim Cook retains his reputation as one of Canada's leading WW1 historians.
While recounting the course of the battles that Canada was involved in, he also keeps our interest by telling the intimate stories of the men who wore the Maple leaf. He resists the urge to have us believe that Canada was the sole reason for the allies success and is fair in his criticism and praise of the military and political characters in this sad drama.
This is a very readable book and one that should be in the library of every Canadian. Can't wait to see what he does with the next book on Currie and Hughes.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shock Troops - Tim Cook, March 21 2009
By 
John V. Gass (Nova Scotia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 (Hardcover)
I am not a professional book reviewer but as my Father's family was totaly involved in WW 1 I have read anything I can get my hands on relative to the Canadian involvement in that war. Tim Cook's treatment, in my opinion, is the best written to date. His research and subsequent publication is unbelievably excellent. Mr Cook's first volume "At The Sharp End", deserves the same comment. Anyone looking for a very readable detailed historical account of the Canadians in World War 1 cannot do better than these two volumes.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensively Canadian, July 28 2014
Without doubt, the most comprehensive and personal presentation to date of Canada's involvement and the influence of her front-line soldiers through the Great War . . . A read for all Canadians in this 100th year commemoration of that conflict's origins. Don't be intimidated by the 1500+ pages (including Pt #1, The Sharp Edge). Neither repetitive nor redundant at any juncture and easily readable for teens on upwards.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Gripping Account of the Great War., June 15 2009
By 
Patrick Sullivan (Kingston, Ont. Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 (Hardcover)
I still have some pages left, so I have not read the conclusion. This book covers every single aspect of a soldiers life in the Great War. Like a lot of Canadians, I had relatives that fought in the Great War. I wanted to know what they went through. You later realize why the quote "he never talked about the war," was so common to hear from older relatives. WW1 was not a pleasant experience. This book, and At The Sharp End, will give you everything there is to know about life on the Western front. Cook has done an outstanding job at researching the material.
While reading, there are times when it is a little rough to stomach all the stories of death and disease. The hardship these people endured, is almost beyond belief.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The best history of the Candians in World War 1, second half, May 28 2014
By 
Robert T. Boyter (Toronto) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 (Hardcover)
Canadian forces became the sharp point of the Allied effort in Europe, and were used by the British as Shock Troops, hence the title. Sometimes they were badly handled by British Commanders who regarded them as cannon fodder, but by 1917 they had risen to being regarded as the finest soldiers on the Western Front, and were being directed by their own commanders. Sadly this volume includes Second and Third Battles of Ypres, the Third of which is often called Passchendaele, and was the bloodiest campaign the Canadians ever fought in. The ground was waterlogged, trenches became chin or deeper canals, and the German artillery had spent 4 years zeroing in on the Allied positions. The Germans were broken finally because of the healthier better equipped and by that time better fed troops, but it was a tragedy for both sides.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Sensation. For Canadians, World War I Is No Longer 'The Forgotten War', May 18 2014
By 
M. Virany "Margaret Virany" (Gatineau, QC Canada) - See all my reviews
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Now that this sensational book has been written, Canadians will no longer be able to call World War I, which broke out in 1914, 'The Forgotten War'. Tim Cook, WWI historian at the Canadian War Museum, puts it all on the record vividly. He gives an exhaustive 648-page account (plus notes) that establishes facts and promotes pride in Canada's WW1 infantry forces' character and achievements.The reader is right at the front line as shock troops of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (part of the British
the strategies, tactics and action of battalions, groups and heroes of each battle in graphic detail. It is based on National Archives data previously locked up and pictures archived in the CMC. Short sentences and direct quotes interspersed with descriptions keep the narrative going at a fast pace. Without hyperbole or sentimentality, the author uses the victims' or witnesses' own words to convey the impact of horrific conditions, killing and destruction. The tone of the narrative is bitter sweet wherever possible and consistently proud. I was particularly interested to find out about shell shock, executions, trench community life, morale, family contacts, illnesses, leave and many other broader topics, all excellently covered.This is a valuable document for anyone wishing to know exactly what his or her relative did or didn't endure.It is a very good, readable, competent book and I recommend it to others. However, my advice to readers who might get bored by so many meticulous, comprehensive accounts of successive
battles, or who don't identify excitedly with battle manoeuvers, is to skip ahead.References to events further from Cook's topic, such as the Brest-Titovsk Treaty between Germany and Russia, should be checked out with other sources. And come prepared. All the way through it will seem like you are right there, ready to do or die, and that's not easy!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Praise for Tim Cook, May 14 2013
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Tim Cook is one of the foremost historians writing on the Great War, a writer whose work I value. I'm glad to own this account, which sits next to his equally fine work, AT THE SHARP END. As someone who has written extensively on this subject, it is comforting to be able to reach for these two books when I'm writing about the Canadian role in the war. Though I'm a U.S. citizen, it has long annoyed and distressed me that few refer to Canadians as the first American troops to serve in Belgium and France. So, great kudos to Tim Cook.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Seasoned Fighting Force, April 1 2010
By 
Ian Gordon Malcomson (Victoria, BC) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 (Hardcover)
It didn't take me long to get into the second volume of Cook's history of Canada's role in WW I after having enjoyed the first one. Once again, Cook does a splendid job in exploring the nature of Canada's war effort from all perspectives: the common soldier, the captain in the field, the general at GHQ, the families back home, and the politicians in Ottawa. Comparitively, the two volumes, "At the Sharp End" and "Shock Troops" complement each other nicely. Where the first book looks at the initial challenges facing the Canadian Expeditionary Forces as a callow group of raw and undisciplined recruits, the second one highlights the hard won achievements of a top line fighting machine. The historian Cook goes into more intricate detail in this book on how the Canadian fighting men, as embodied in General Currie's beloved Canadian Corp, made an incredible contribution to the winning of a number of pivotal battles in the closing years of the war. While describing the battle strategies and clever schemes that allowed Canadians to gain the upperhand in these various campaigns, Cooks offers up some very special moments when the reader is able to step inside the mind and life of a soldier and momentarily grasp the challenges of the moment. The loneliness, fear and despair come through as the Canadian Tommies write home to loved ones, fight the rats, pick out the nits, eat the awful food rations, remember to duck at all times, and go out on recovery missions across No-Man's Land. This book is worth the read for its ability to capture both the daily moil and toil of soldiering and the overall shifts and trends in the big war picture. Cook definitely makes a strong case for Canada being considered a vital participant in this otherwise senseless conflict. Like in his first account, he is accurate in his description of events and fair in his judgment of character. Keep in mind that Cook doesn't spare any details when it comes to describing the full horrors of warfare that pits man against 'shock and awe' technology.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Birthday Present for my Brother, Dec 28 2013
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This review is from: Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 (Hardcover)
This was a great gift. Unique and worth the money.

Ordered it one day and it was here in no time.
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Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18
Shock Troops Canadians Fighting The Great War 1917-18 by Tim Cook (Hardcover - Sept. 30 2008)
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