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Distributed for University of British Columbia Press

Reluctant Warriors

Canadian Conscripts and the Great War

During the “Hundred Days” campaign of the First World War, over 30 percent of conscripts who served in the Canadian Corps became casualties. Yet, they were often considered slackers for not having volunteered. Reluctant Warriors is the first examination of the pivotal role played by Canadian conscripts in the final campaign of the Great War on the Western Front. Challenging long-standing myths, Patrick Dennis examines whether conscripts made any significant difference to the success of the Canadian Corps in 1918. Reluctant Warriors provides fresh evidence that conscripts were good soldiers who made a crucial contribution to the war effort.

Table of Contents

Foreword / By J.L. Granatstein

Introduction: Slackers, Shirkers, and Malingerers

1 “The Blood Dimmed Tide”

2 Canada’s New Fighting Forces

3 The First Canadian Conscripts in Combat

4 Conspicuous Gallantry at Amiens

5 “Draft Men” and the Battle of the Scarpe, 1918

6 The Hardest Single Battle: The Drocourt-Quéant Line

7 Canal du Nord and the Brotherhood of Arms

8 A Dangerous Advance Continued

9 Cambrai and Iwuy: “For a time hell was loose”

10 Honour and Duty in the Pursuit to Mons

11 The Equal of the Best

Conclusion: Evidence has a Way of Dissolving Theories


Notes; Bibliography; Index

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