10 December 2008

Passchendaele: Canada’s Triumph and Tragedy on the Fields of Flanders
by Norman Leach
Published by Coteau Books
Review by Karen Lawson
$19.95 ISBN: 978-1-55050-399-9

Passchendaele is a moving tribute to the thousands of soldiers who died or were wounded during World War I. This book is based on the film by Canadian actor and producer Paul Gross.

This beautifully scripted book by Norman Leach paints an accurate picture of the true essence of war. It explains the history of World War I and the role that Canadian soldiers played. At the beginning of World War I, Canada was a young country. However, after the War ended, Canada emerged with a new confidence, pride, and a strong independent spirit.

The Canadians who fought at Passchendaele distinguished themselves as patriotic, courageous soldiers. There are many photos that are included on the pages of Passchendaele. They capture moments in time on the battlefield and depict the ravages of war in a truthful and candid way. The quotes from soldiers that are sprinkled throughout the book are painful echoes from the past that give the reader a personal connection to the men that gave their lives for freedom.

Passchendaele has the additional distinction and honour of receiving the Publishing Award at the 2008 Saskatchewan Book Awards. This book will be of interest to those readers who enjoy military history. But more importantly, it will touch the hearts of all Canadians, as they gain insight about World War I, and a deeper understanding about how the battle at Passchendaele forever affected and changed so many families and the world.

[Ed. Note: Coteau Books has released a study guide as a free download from their website:, or you can download it here.]


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