Tim Cook, Canada’s leading war historian, ventures deep into World War Two in this epic two-volume story of heroism and horror, of loss and longing, sacrifice and endurance.
Written in Cook’s compelling narrative style, this book shows in impressive detail how soldiers, airmen, and sailors fought—the evolving tactics, weapons of war, logistics, and technology. It gauges Canadian effectiveness against the skilled enemy whom they confronted in battlefields from 1939 to 1943, from the sweltering heat of Sicily to the frigid North Atlantic, and from the urban warfare of Ortona to the dark skies over Germany. The Necessary War examines the equally important factors of morale, discipline, and fortitude of the Canadian citizen-soldiers.
The war was an engine of transformation for Canada. With a population of fewer than twelve million, Canada embraced its role as an arsenal of democracy, exporting war supplies, feeding its allies, and raising a million-strong armed forces that served and fought in nearly every theatre of war. The nation was mobilized like never before in the fight to preserve the liberal democratic order. The six-year-long exertion caused disruption, provoked nationwide industrialization, ushered in changes to gender roles, exacerbated the tension between English and French, and forged a new sense of Canadian identity. Canadians were willing to bear almost any burden and to pay the ultimate price in the pursuit of victory.
As with his award-winning two-volume series on WWI, Tim Cook uses original sources, letters from soldiers, rare documents, and maps of battlefields to illustrate the contributions and sacrifices made by what is often called the greatest generation. Magisterial in its scope, The Necessary War illuminates Canada’s past as never before. From the Western Front to the home front, Canadians served many roles in a war that had to be fought and won.