A bold new telling of the defining battle of the Great War, and how it came to signify and solidify Canada's national identity.
Why does Vimy loom so large in Canada's identity—and should it? Tim Cook, Canada's foremost military historian and a RBC Taylor Prize winner, examines the battle of Vimy Ridge in April 1917 and the way the memory of it has evolved over a hundred years. Vimy is unlike any other battle in Canadian history: it has been described as the "birth of the nation." But the meaning of that phrase has never been explored, nor has any writer explained why the battle continues to resonate with Canadians. The Vimy battle that began April 9, 1917, marked the first time the four divisions of the Canadian Expeditionary Force fought together. 10,600 men were killed or injured over four days—twice the casualty rate of the Dieppe Raid in August 1942.
Cook has uncovered new material and photographs from official archives and private collections across Canada and from around the world. Many of these resources have never been used before by other historians, writers, or filmmakers.
This book is about more than a defining battle: it is a story of Canadian identity and memory, by a writer who brings history alive.
TIM COOK is Chief Historian and Director of Research at the Canadian War Museum. His bestselling books have won multiple awards, including three Ottawa Book Awards for Literary Non-Fiction and two C.P. Stacey Awards for the best book in Canadian military history. In 2008 he won the J.W. Dafoe Prize for At the Sharp End and again in 2018 for Vimy: The Battle and the Legend. Shock Troops won the 2009 RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. Cook is a frequent commentator in the media, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada and the Order of Canada.
#1 NATIONAL BESTSELLER
WINNER OF THE J.W. DAFOE BOOK PRIZE
LONGLISTED FOR BRITISH COLUMBIA'S NATIONAL AWARD FOR CANADIAN NON-FICTION
FINALIST FOR THE TEMPLER MEDAL BOOK PRIZE
Praise for Vimy:
“There is no one better equipped to retell the Vimy story than Cook.” —The Chronicle Herald
“Through this book, Cook … cements himself as the nation’s premier military historian.” —The Vancouver Sun
Praise for At the Sharp End:
"Provides an intimate look at the Canadian men who fought in World War One.... An engrossing, moving experience." —The London Free Press
Praise for Shock Troops:
"Cook has written what will surely be the definitive history of the Canadian Army in the First World War." —Edmonton Journal
Praise for The Madman and the Butcher:
"[A] masterful book." —Maclean's
"In The Madman and the Butcher, [Cook] tells at least two stories that deserve that overused word 'epic'.... An emotive writer.... He has a playwright's ear for knowing when to let his subjects speak for themselves." —The Globe and Mail