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Global History as a Teacher
from graphic novel guest blogger, Francisca Goldsmith:
World War II, rather like the Torah, is endlessly plumbable for lessons, insights and other instructions from the past that we can apply as we continue to move always toward the future. Keery and Wyatt‘s concise and visually enriched version of Canada’s role and military experiences in that period and event include a simple reminder as well: the United States’ great big (geographically) neighbor to the north is not an addendum to our own national experience and culture; Canada is a nation and state of its own, with diversifying edification for us “Americans.”
One of the most dramatic aspects of Canada’s experiences of the “last good war” is the comparatively demilitarized economy the nation held both immediately before entering the war (before the US) and after VJ Day. Instead of looking for more ways to use the equipment and manpower the war had encouraged Canada to build, they stepped down from the heightened state of superpowerizing.
Between the covers of this reportorial volume, however, American readers can find exactly how quickly and how far reaching Canadian engagement in the war effort was. In short, this serves as a reminder that how “we” do it isn’t the only “American” way.
KEERY, Paul. Canada at War: A Graphic History of World War II. illus. by Michael Wyatt. 176p. Douglas & McIntyre. 2012. Tr $24.95. ISBN 978-1-55365-596-1.
Adult/High School–Keery, a historian as well as lawyer and librarian, provides a clear and focused accounting of Canada’s participation on the Allies’ behalf. What is remarkable about this nation’s experience was its lack of military and dispositional preparation to enter another world war. After the Great War, in which many Canadians fought and died, battleships and armaments had been left to rot or were repurposed, and public sentiment became mistrustful of entering another international war. However, the Canadian forces and its equipment were quickly and thoroughly built so that Canada again held a significant place in protecting the North Atlantic, fighting in Sicily and Italy and the defeat of Germany, and remaining active to the Japanese surrender. Wyatt’s expressive and brilliantly inked images show individual politicians, military leaders, and landscapes, as well as common soldiers and sailors and pilots in frightening spaces and events. A bibliography leads readers to more resources about an overlooked part of World War II’s Allied defenses and offensives.–Francisca Goldsmith, Infopeople Project, CA
Filed under: Graphic Novels, Nonfiction
About Angela Carstensen
Angela Carstensen is Head Librarian and an Upper School Librarian at Convent of the Sacred Heart in New York City. Angela served on the Alex Awards committee for four years, chairing the 2008 committee, and chaired the first YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adult committee in 2009. Recently, she edited Outstanding Books for the College Bound: Titles and Programs for a New Generation (ALA Editions, 2011). Contact her via Twitter @AngeReads.
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