Friday, August 31, 2012

Gauntlet to Overlord

 

      Gauntlet to Overlord: The Story of the Canadian Army by Ross Munro. First Published in 1945, twice in 1946, and once more in 1972 by The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited. It contains 477 pages of text, 17 b &w photographs, and three maps. Average resale value is approximately $15.00.

Chapters include:
I - Introduction
II - The Storm Gathers
III - The Lightning Strikes
IV - The Struggle on the Beach-Head
V - The Battle for Caen
VI - The Push to Falaise
VII - Triumph at Turn - On the Seine
VIII - Return to Dieppe
IX - Channel Port Blitz
X - The Polders Battle - Into Germany
XI - England and the Long Wait
XII - Arctic Foray
XIII - Dieppe - Key to Invasion
XIV - Detour via North Africa
XV - Sicily's Thirty-Eight Days
XVI - From Reggio to the Po

     Ross Munro has authored a wonderful primer to the Canadian Army, and its experiences in the middle and later half of the second world war. While 477 pages may seem a bit large for what I am calling primer, that is because the book is more than a primer, but definitely not as detailed and burdensome as an official history. The text reads smoothly, as does any primer. Munro's writing style is a true pleasure to read much unlike many of today's historians. He does not bog the reader down by jumping back and forth with names, unit designations, and locations. All of which can make for labored reading.

     Gauntlet to Overlord is a balanced read that is willing to provide both praise for the hard fighting Canadian Army and yet be honest about political in-fighting and leadership challenges. Munro is well suited to write on the Dieppe raid of 1942 as he was one of three correspondents personally present. It is unfortunate that many books can become lost in the larger index of available works as brought about with time, especially those that are so enjoyable a read. Without reservation, I recommend the book to both those who particularly enjoy Canadian history as well as those who are simply wanting to read something other than the usual U.S. or British subjects.

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