More about war

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - ENTERTAINMENT - El­iz­a­beth Cran El­iz­a­beth Cran is a free­lance writer who writes a book re­view col­umn for The Guardian. To com­ment or to send her books to re­view, write her at her new ad­dress: 95 Or­ange St., Apt. 101, Saint John N.B., E2L 1M5, or call her at 506-693-5498

In this re­view, two books, each telling of a dif­fer­ent war from a dif­fer­ent point of view.

"The Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment in the Great War" by Frank Go­gos (Flanker, $24.95) is not only a guide to places as­so­ci­ated with that reg­i­ment be­tween 1914 and 1918, but a brief guide to the reg­i­ment’s history dur­ing that pe­riod.

"My Dear Alice: War Letters 1937-1950" by Clare Christie and Carol Wills (New World Pub­lish­ing, Hal­i­fax, $27.95) is a col­lec­tion of letters be­tween mem­bers of a fam­ily in Canada and Eng­land.

These give a glimpse of how Mid­dle-Class fam­i­lies lived - and sur­vived - the War.

"The Royal New­found­land Reg­i­ment" is a deluxe vol­ume which no one in­ter­ested in the Great War should be with­out. Not only does it de­scribe what hap­pened, it gives di­rec­tions to get to each site, has nu­mer­ous il­lus­tra­tions show­ing the bat­tle­fields then and as they are to­day, looks at some of the par­tic­i­pants and has maps for each sec­tion.

There are, in all, over 400 pho­to­graphs, and 40 maps. And ev­ery so of­ten, there stands on a rocky height the New­found­land bronze cari­bou be­wail­ing the loss of her sons.

This is one of the most mov­ing war me­mo­ri­als we have ever seen.

Go­gos is no great writer, but the com­plete­ness of his book makes up for it. One of the most re­mark­able things in it are the pic­tures of towns and vil­lages bombed to ru­ins, and pic­tures of those same places as they are to­day - com­pletely re­built, with lit­tle or no sign of war’s de­struc­tion.

"My Dear Alice..." at a glance is a mildly bor­ing ac­count of births, deaths, mar­riages and thanks for food parcels. How­ever its ef­fect is cu­mu­la­tive. All this is go­ing on in the con­text of air raids, threats of in­va­sion, in­creas­ing lack of food, in­suf­fi­cient heat, and vol­un­teer work night and day.

It’s worth read­ing, maybe es­pe­cially for those too young to re­mem­ber.

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