Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Book Review: The Gunner: WW I; The Great One


By Paul Almond.      Eric Alford’s life on the peaceful GaspĂ© Coast is shattered by his decision to follow his elder brother John into the cataclysm of death and destruction that is the First World War. By his thundering Howitzer, Gunner Alford faces off against the enemy through harrowing battles that defined the European Theatre: Ypres, Vimy Ridge, Passchendaele, Hill 70, and The Somme. Suffering wounds and mental exhaustion, Eric is evacuated to a Rouen field hospital where he is surrounded by the hellish consequences of combat: blindness, amputations, and gas-inflicted horrors. And here, suffering with PTSD (shell-shock), Eric wonders whether he will ever see home again.
  1. The Deserter 978-1-55278-901-8 Paperback $19.95
  2. The Survivor 978-1-55278-967-4 Paperback $19.95
  3. The Pioneer 978-1-77087-123-6 Paperback $19.95
  4. The Pilgrim 978-1-77087-163-2 Paperback $19.95
  5. The Chaplain 978-0-99197-460-3 Paperback $19.95
  6. WW II
  7. The Gunner 978-0-88995-512-7 Paperback $19.95

     For those who are interested in finding out what WWI was like, this book is a good one. Written by a Canadian film maker, who lives in the US, some of it is written like a Hollywood script, a bit over the top, if you'll excuse the pun, but he culled autobiographies and diaries to reflect the true horror of this war. We can learn much about how to treat those who served in US data is shocking:
My late father was in the Air Force
in WW II
wartime. In fact, shell shock, now we know it is a huge problem: PTSD. This is a relatively new concept. We really must do more for our veterans, who can end up with mental health issues, some and homeless.
Although national tracking of veteran suicide rates is unreliable at best, the VA estimates that 22 veterans commit suicide each day. This means approximately 8,030 veterans kill themselves every year, more than 5,540 of whom are 50 or older.
     It is well-crafted, and was a good read for me. I dropped History in gr. 10, with a 52% average! (I took Music, Physical Education, English and three Maths: Calculus, Functions & Relations, Algebra!) There is a map, a glossary, as well, which helped me navigate my way through this portion of the war effort. Most soldiers thought the war might be over before they managed to serve. This, certainly, was not the case.
     This book is the sixth in a series loosely based on the author's forefather. Students study WW I in grade 10. This series would be an excellent one for kids, as I have always learned well from well-researched historical fiction. Coincidentally, TVO is featuring a mini-series on this topic, references are below.
Canadian and World Studies, 2013, Grades 9 and 10 PDF Format (2013 - 1.9 MB)  
    The Grade 10 history courses provide students with an overview of Canadian history from the eve of World War I to the present.

I have a WW I helmet someone repurposed. They were very heavy.
From my mom's photos
Dad and his sister: 1942

Apocalypse: World War One - TVO

titleApocalypse is a monumental five-part miniseries culled from more than 500 hours of archival material. This is WWI as you have never experienced it before: artfully colorized in a painstakingly researched process that brings the footage to life with unprecedented impact.
The Great War


DeniseinVA said...

Anything to do with WWI interests me as I have just come back from attending the 70th D-Day Anniversary with my 93 year old father-in-law. Hearing stories from my own parents of how it was in England during those times, and from my father-in-law's experiences, had me thinking about WWI. My grandfather, mother's dad, spent several years as a POW in the First World War. Thanks for the great review.

Nancy J said...

Lovely photos to have for memories, looking at those sheer stockings, beautifully tailored jackets, smart hats, and the wind blowing, and your aunt's lovely outfit, all part of family life. Brave men and women who gave their all. Hugs, Jean.

EG CameraGirl said...

I have always loved history so I'm pretty sure I would enjoy this. The First World War was a terrible war, though...not that any of them are good.

William Kendall said...

It was a horrendous war, to be certain. Thanks for pointing the book out.

Red said...

I think that more people should be encourages to read histories like this. I wouldn't say make it required reading but set it up so more people would read the terrible events of war.

Christine said...

sounds readable, I don't know how you remember what subjects you took in Gr 10 let alone marks!

Cloudia said...

I do love history, thanks

ALOHA from Honolulu
=^..^= <3

Judy said...

I will have to add that book about WWI to my library list when I get home. It sounds interesting!!