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The First World War in a Canadian Town

By Edward Butts

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The First World War was the cause of dramatic changes in every Canadian community. What it meant to daily life becomes clear in this book about the war years in Guelph, Ontario. The first months were the easiest, as young men rushed to enlist. Once news of casualties and deaths started arriving, the atmosphere changed drastically. Mothers dreaded the arrival of the telegraph boy. Newspapers published fulsome obituaries which could not obscure the tragedy of their deaths. Tensions emerged — one compelling example being a secret military and police night-time raid on a Catholic seminary just outside the town, looking for young men hiding from conscription.

With these stories, Edward Butts offers a compelling portrait of people trying to make sense of a war with little evident logic. His account helps explain why the cause of the League of Nations and efforts to ensure peace in the 1920s and 1930s were so powerful amongst Canadians who had learned about the real impact of wartime on ordinary people.

Through the use of primary resources including articles from the local press, letters from overseas, and newsreels in the cinema, Butts captures the reality of the First World War for Canadians at home.




Chapter 1     July 1914

Chapter 2     A Fight for Civilization

Chapter 3     War News 1915

Chapter 4     September 1915

Chapter 5     The Knock at the Door

Chapter 6     “Will Daddy Come Home Tonight?”

Chapter 7     Battle Royal at the Opera House

Chapter 8     Christian Soldiers

Chapter 9     Conscription: The Novitiate Raid

Chapter 10     Unsung Heroes and Angels of Mercy

Chapter 11     “It’s a Happy Trench that has Black Cats in it”

Chapter 12     Any Name But Berlin

Chapter 13     Spartan Mothers and White Feathers

Chapter 14     Socks and Machine Guns

Chapter 15     Spies and Saboteurs

Chapter 16     Shortages and the Battle of Guelph

Chapter 17     Conscription: A Rough Night for Socialists

Chapter 18     War News 1918

Chapter 19     Homecoming

Chapter 20     Aftermath




"Offers valuable insights into the country as a whole during one of its worst calamities."

- Canada's History

EDWARD BUTTS is the author of more than twenty books including The Desperate Ones: Forgotten Canadian Outlaws, which was nominated for an Arthur Ellis Award, She Dared: Stories of Survival, which received a Hackmatack Children's Choice Book Award and a Red Maple Honour Book Award, and Rum, Blood & Treasure: Stories Strange and True from Atlantic Canada. He lives in Guelph, Ontario.

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Publication Details:

Binding: Hardback, 280 pages
Publication Date: 31st October 2017
ISBN: 9781459410992
Format: 9in x 6in

Binding: Electronic book text, 280 pages
Publication Date: 31st October 2017
ISBN: 9781459411043
Format: EPUB

BISAC Code:, HIS006020, HIS027090, HIS054000
Imprint: Lorimer


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