Brave Battalion

This is the story of the average Canadian who volunteered for the Canadian Expeditionary Force told through the lens of one battalion—the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) of the 1st Canadian Infantry Division. This Highland Regiment fought in the Ypres Salient and in the Somme, at Vimy, Passchendaele, and Amiens. It suffered the first gas attack; its ranks were decimated as it fought at virtually every major battle in the European theatre.

From the declaration of war to the cessation of hostilities, Zuehlke follows the battalion from marshalling and training in Canada, across the Atlantic to England, and then landing in Europe. In graphic detail he takes the reader into the trenches and onto the shell-pocked battlefields, through assaults on ridges and wooded valleys. Brave Battalion is not a sweeping history of the conflict. It is rather the story of war on the ground as told through the accomplishments of a band of brothers—the Canadian Scottish—who came to represent the best of what Canada sent into battle.

Publisher John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd., 2008: 287 pages.

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Reviews:

Canadian Military History, Book Review Supplement

Zuehlke evokes the everyday horrors of the trenches along with the chaos of battle, and contrasts the hopelessness of Ypres, the Somme, and Passchendale with the bloody but important victories of Vimy and Arras He effectively humanizes his subjects while giving the unit in general a distinct character…Brave Battalion…would make a good text for Canadians unfamiliar with their country’s role in the First World War, or for those seeking a more personal angle on oft-covered battles and campaigns.”

Victoria Times Colonist: “No other Canadian can tell military stories the way Zuehlke can. He is able to turn the complexities of war into good reading for the masses…Brave Battalion should be required reading in schools in Victoria, and in Hamilton, Vancouver and Winnipeg too—and in every other community that gave a son to the CanScots or any other unit.

Globe And Mail

Zuehlke’s headlong chronicle…leads the general reader through the carnage of no man’s land with a sure hand.