Ortona: Canada's Epic World War II Battle

D & M Publishers
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A masterful retelling one of the major victories of Canadian troops over the German army’s elite division during WWII.

In one blood-soaked, furious week of fighting, from December 20 to December 27, 1943, the 1st Canadian Infantry Division took the town of Ortona, Italy, from elite German paratroopers ordered to hold the medieval port town at all costs. Infantrymen serving in the Loyal Edmonton Regiment and the Seaforth Highlanders, supported by tankers of the Three Rivers Regiment, moved from house to house in hand-to-hand combat amid heavy shelling and wrested the town from the grip of the fierce German defenders. Getting into Ortona had been a battle of its own. Ortona, the pearl of the Adriatic, stands on a promontory impregnable from three sides, with seacliffs on the north and east, and a deep ravine on the west. The Canadian infantrymen, drawn from virtually every corner of Canada, attacked from the south under the command of Major-General Chris Vokes, fighting across narrow gullies, mud-choked vineyards and olive groves, into the narrow streets of Ortona itself. When the vicious battle was over, 2605 Canadians were dead or wounded. But the town that had become known as "Little Stalingrad" was now in Allied hands.
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“‘Remittance man’ was meant to be a disparaging term. It reflected the fact that these young men had been sent to the colonies to spare their families continuing embarrassment or shame. At home they had been scoundrels, dreamers, and second sons without future prospects. Perhaps in…the Canadian West they would make something of themselves. If they didn't, at least they would be far enough away that little disgrace would fall upon their families.” —Mark Zuehlke

Beginning in 1880, thousands of young, upper-class British men with few prospects were sent to the Canadian West to distance them from British society. Still supported by their families, thus earning them the title “remittance men,” these men set out to continue their lives of leisure in this new land.

With education, respectable breeding and the belief “from birth that they were superior beings,” the remittance men descended upon Western Canada with expectations of accomplishing something great and increasing their wealth. In reality, they hunted, played games, courted women, and enjoyed distinguished pursuits that squandered their parents' money and made hard-working Canadians raise their eyebrows.

Though their era in Western Canada was short, 1880–1914, “they left an indelible mark perpetuated by the stories and legends that sprung up around them.”

In Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons, first published fifteen years ago, Mark Zuehlke traces the path of the remittance men through Western Canada, highlighting their adventures, limited successes and glorious failures.
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Additional Information

Publisher
D & M Publishers
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Published on
Jul 1, 2009
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Pages
464
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ISBN
9781926706023
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Military / World War II
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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“Eugene Sledge became more than a legend with his memoir, With The Old Breed. He became a chronicler, a historian, a storyteller who turns the extremes of the war in the Pacific—the terror, the camaraderie, the banal and the extraordinary—into terms we mortals can grasp.”—Tom Hanks

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

In The Wall Street Journal, Victor Davis Hanson named With the Old Breed one of the top five books on epic twentieth-century battles. Studs Terkel interviewed the author for his definitive oral history, The Good War. Now E. B. Sledge’s acclaimed first-person account of fighting at Peleliu and Okinawa returns to thrill, edify, and inspire a new generation.

An Alabama boy steeped in American history and enamored of such heroes as George Washington and Daniel Boone, Eugene B. Sledge became part of the war’s famous 1st Marine Division—3rd Battalion, 5th Marines. Even after intense training, he was shocked to be thrown into the battle of Peleliu, where “the world was a nightmare of flashes, explosions, and snapping bullets.” By the time Sledge hit the hell of Okinawa, he was a combat vet, still filled with fear but no longer with panic.

Based on notes Sledge secretly kept in a copy of the New Testament, With the Old Breed captures with utter simplicity and searing honesty the experience of a soldier in the fierce Pacific Theater. Here is what saved, threatened, and changed his life. Here, too, is the story of how he learned to hate and kill—and came to love—his fellow man.

“In all the literature on the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir than Eugene Sledge’s. This is the real deal, the real war: unvarnished, brutal, without a shred of sentimentality or false patriotism, a profound primer on what it actually was like to be in that war. It is a classic that will outlive all the armchair generals’ safe accounts of—not the ‘good war’—but the worst war ever.”—Ken Burns


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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