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Tested mettle: Canada's peacekeepers at war Hardcover – 1998

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Esprit de Corps Publications; First Edition edition (1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1895896088
  • ISBN-13: 978-1895896084
  • Product Dimensions: 22.6 x 14.5 x 2.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 340 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #401,868 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Format: Hardcover
Excellent book. I had no idea that the Canadian military tried tried to cover up this to our own people.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars 9 reviews
4 of 8 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars One Long Whine for Publicity Sept. 29 2001
By Richard R - Published on
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Tested Mettle" is a silly 250-page plea for attention. Readers will imagine themselves sitting around a campfire with some grizzled Canadian soldiers grumbling about the bad food and the careerist officers and the idiot politicians, and then getting outraged at the thought that it would all be okay if only the press would write about these injustices. Taylor sounds like a fellow who once had his name in the paper and now believes his every act and thought are newsworthy. Basically he writes about the sorry state of the small, demoralized, poorly-equipped Canadian army on a number of peacekeeping missions and then complains a half dozen times per chapter that the press hasn't covered these "scandals". The thinking here is definitely small-bore, as there is no discussion of broader political events underlying the conflicts. A reader drops in on several small-scale events, skirmishes, bunkers, and hillsides, in Bosnia, Croatia and Africa.
Taylor is unabashedly pro-Canadian, or more to the point, pro-common guy Canadian soldier (diplomacy is "precious and privileged".) On a couple of occasions he needs to portray Americans as cowardly in order to contrast the brave Canadians who leap into the fray and save the Yanks' bacon. On one occasion, the heroic Canadian bravely orders some Bosnians to clean up some medical waste. While it's all for effect, it does color the text.
The "scandals" come fast and furious. There is the "screening" scandal, when the effort to expand the Canadian services for the Korean conflict causes unfit persons to be accepted into the army. There is the "cough syrup and coffin" scandal when Canadian forces in Suez were supplied with too much cough medicine and bought cheap coffins from an Egyptian vendor. There is the "batteries and oil" scandal that Taylor calls a "major political embarrassment" when the batteries and fluids were removed from Canadian vehicles because they were due to be shipped home when the order came to deploy to Yugoslavia. Lots of funding scandals and scandals about ill-trained soldiers, useless armored vehicles, duplicitous officers, and self-serving politicians. All are accompanied by outraged pleas for more press attention. Ironically, on one occasion when the press covers one of Taylor's little scandals, the Canadian public couldn't care less: "The story [of funding shortages to the Canadian military] made national headlines but generated little public outcry". Taylor is amazed that nobody but him cares about his little heartaches. He could benefit from some perspective.
And readers could benefit from some maps, but the only one is a laughably inaccurate hand-drawn comic-style sketch of Croatia and Bosnia that wrongly places Bihac in Croatia, Erdut in Baranja, and generously donates Dubrovnik and southern Dalmatia to Bosnia. If this book makes it to another edition, it could use a serious set of maps that don't look like they were drawn on a placemat. The frequent typos and mistakes in usage don't really impact the overall text, except to suggest that the book was written by a first-time author and shoddily-edited. "Palatable" vice "palpable"; "Casey Stengle" vice "Stengel"; "cap-toothed" vice "gap-toothed"; "recently sewn minefields" vice "sown", etc. suggest to a reader that nobody bothered to look over the proofs and leave us wondering what other mistakes may have crept in.
On the plus side, the descriptions of the Medak Pocket and Operation Storm attacks by the Croatian army are well-written. While offering no perspective on the wider implications of these operations, Taylor's account does give a useful ground-level picture, particularly of the atrocities and war-crimes carried out either by or with the knowledge of the Croatian military. Croatian commanders are now on trial both in Croatia and at the Hague Tribunal for these events.
Unfortunately, Taylor's apparent aim -to champion the Canadian soldier while slamming his superiors- is all for naught. The impression left by "Tested Mettle" is that the Canadian army is badly recruited, badly trained, badly led, badly organized, in short - bad. With all of the hyperbole and Canadian rah-rah, this book is likely to appeal to the blue-collar Canadian male military wannabe demographic. If that's you, buy it.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Masterful work of military journalism! Nov. 1 2001
By Arnold Pearce - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Taylor and Nolan are to be commended for their extensive research and fine writing. As a former peacekeeper who served on two of the tours that Tested Mettle covers, I must say that these authors were able to capture the essence of what me and "the boys" went through. What I found truly shocking was their revelations about the senior level corruption and the lack of compassion for those soldiers who were wounded. I had always thought that my friend's case was an isolated issue of neglect, but now I realize that there was widespread systemic rot at "Fort Fumble on the Rideau" (NDHQ).
This book should be a "must read" for every citizen in Canada,-especially now that we are once again sending off our troops to War. Unless people realize how corrupted the system (not to mention the Officer corps) has become, there is little hope that things will improve in the rank and file. I had heard about this book years ago, but I felt that having "been there", it would not be of interest. I really wish now that I'd read it when it first came out!
I have already started reading Taylor and Nolan's first book,-Tarnished Brass:Crime and Corruption in the Canadian Military, and it is even more shocking and revealing.
These books are a must-read!
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A tribute to the troops Aug. 1 2003
By Kevin Cole - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Having spent years detesting Scott Taylor for his constant media attacks against the military, I finally picked up a copy of Tarnished Brass, and changed my mind. After reading that expose about top level corruption, I rushed out to buy the second book which Taylor and Nolan co-authored. Tested Mettle is the long overdue tribute to our long suffering troops....of which I was one. Few Canadians heard the details about the so-called peacekeeping missions which we were sent on. However, in this book Taylor & Nolan bring it all together, and still manage to hammer away at the politicians and the brass for their failure to provide proper support.
Any soldier still serving should pick up both these titles. Although I still can't stand the smarmy sight of Taylor on the television....I hope that he & Nolan are working on a new book soon.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Tested Mettle, Tested Well Aug. 30 2000
By Alex Greer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I am a serving member of the Canadian Forces, and although I have not been on peacekeeping missions (I'm navy) I have heard many first-hand stories from army friends about the kind of experiences in the former Yugoslavia which Scott Taylor and Brian Nolan document. As with their ealier "Tarnished Brass" Taylor and Nolan have again done the public a service by documenting the sacrifice and heorism of the average Johnny Canuck soldier, and again have exposed the virtual criminal neglect of the rank and file's welfare. The only problem I have is with some of the recommendations in the last chapter.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An eye opening look at the Canadian government June 14 2001
By Jordon Cooper - Published on
Format: Hardcover
The book is an amazing job of journalism and writing but what really jumped out at me is the commentary on the Canadian government and people.
The book was tell written and tells several stories of heroism and tragedy that never made it into the Canadian mainline media reports.
It gives a view of our troops that until recently was not heard of and opened a lot of viewers eyes to what has been happening.

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