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Canada Day Book Reviews

Apparently, I haven't posted a book report since 2007, or a review since 2008. In belated honor of Canada Day, I have two new book reviews on Canadian subjects.

Strategic Cousins: Australian and Canadian Expeditionary Forces and the British and American Empires by John C. Blaxland
This is a general history of Australian and Canadian wars over the last century or so. Most military history readers in either country would be quite familiar with everything it says about their country. There's nothing new in it. However, they might be surprised by what it says about the other country, which they might not be familiar with at all. Put bluntly, Australians know nothing about Canada, and Canadians know nothing about Australia either. This is hardly surprising given the great distance between the two countries. Australians travelling overseas though are likely sooner or later to encounter Canadians, and when they do, discover that their two countries have much in common, like long-lost cousins. This author of this book, John Blaxland, and Australian Army colonel, went further than most by marrying a Canadian he met in Bangkok. He later served as a military attaché in the US and Canada. This book is an argument putting the case for the benefits to both countries of a closer military and political relationship. Although fully aware of the difficulties that have thwarted this over the years, I think he still takes them too lightly, and the chance of improvement in the relationship between the two countries is slim. Interestingly, the book is available in Canada but unobtainable in Australia; I bought my copy from Amazon.ca.


Learning to Love the Bomb: Canada's Nuclear Weapons during the Cold War by Sean M. Molony
One of the nations that originally developed the atomic bomb during World War II, Canada was a nuclear weapons state for decades during the Cold War. Canadian strike aircraft in Germany carried nuclear weapons, Canadian interceptor aircraft and missiles in Canada sported nuclear warheads and Canadian ships carried nuclear depth charges. This was all part of a broad strategic framework that successive Canadian government pursued with varying degrees of success and finesse. In the 1970s, Canada gave up its nuclear weapons, part of Canada's long process of decline from being an influential nation. In the end, Canada was unable to produce a robust policy-making apparatus. Molony is an expert in his subject and his text is dull in places, enlivened by sharp observations of Canadian politicians.

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