For the Canadian Soldiers who lived through the momentous battle for Normandy in the summer of 1944, it was inconceivable that the conflict in Europe could continue for another eight long months. The war was won, they thought, and to win it they had been pushed to what seemed like the limits of endurance. But ahead lay not only an enemy with no thoughts of surrender, but also appalling battle conditions reminiscent of the legendary miseries of Passchendaele.
This much-anticipated sequel to The Guns of Normany picks up where its critically acclaimed predecessor leaves off, and it continues in the same absorbing, startlingly vivid style. After the battle for Normandy, Blackburn’s 4th Field Regiment, with the rest of 1st Canadian Army, is called upon to pursue the enemy through the flooded Low Country, clearing the Scheldt estuary – a task equal to that of D-Day – and opening the port of Antwerp to allow for the huge influx of supplies necessary to press on against the German forces, now fighting with mounting desperation and ferocity.
After enduring the worst winter in local memory, and spending yet another Christmas far from home, in the spring of 1945 the Canadians are thrust into the crucial Battle of the Rhineland, which will eventually allow Allied forces to plunge into the heart of the Reich.
When victory comes, it is with no sense of triumph over a vanquished foe, but with the profoundest relief that this most terrible conflict in history is finally over.
Told with Blackburn’s now trademark sense of drama and eye for detail, this story of the desperate struggle for Europe becomes as large as life. It should fully establish Blackburn as the author of an acknowledged classic on the Second World War.
From the Hardcover edition.
About George Blackburn
George C. Blackburn, M.C., was born in 1917 in a farmhouse near the village of Wales, which disappeared under the waters of the St. Lawrence Seaway. He has been a newspaper reporter, Director of Information of the Federal Labour Department, and Director of Fair Employment Practices. In addition he has been a radio producer, an award-winning documentary scriptwriter, an award-winning playwright, and a lyricist and composer. His musical “A Day to Remember” was housed in a theatre built specially for the purpose in Upper Canada Village. He and Grace, his wife of fifty-seven years, have three children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
George Blackburn earned his Military Cross helping to save the Twente Canaal bridgehead in Holland.
“It is exciting when the second volume of a great memoir continues and deepens the experiences of the first one. This is so with…The Guns of Victory – now a companion to last year’s triumph, The Guns of Normandy.”
–Douglas Fisher, columnist
“This…volume, continuing Blackburn’s story from the clearing of the Channel ports through the Scheldt and Rhineland battles to V-E Day, is a stunning successor [to The Guns of Normany].…This epic should be a part of every Canadian’s consciousness.”
–J.L. Granatstein, Quill & Quire
“…an outstanding historical balance in which the human element of warfare is much more prominent than in purely operational accounts.”
–Lee A. Windsor, Vanguard
“A riveting narrative worthy of a novelist.”
–David Evans, Edmonton Journal
“The narrative is enthralling.…The personal experience, quiet integrity and unstated courage of the author make his work so much more authentic and deeply felt than any academic historian…could hope to emulate.”
–Peter Buitenhuis, Vancouver Sun
“Blackburn’s scope is immense, his writing fast-paced and gritty.…This is a riveting good read.”
–Paul Jackson, Calgary Sun
“The Guns of Victory is a bittersweet, exhilarating account of some of the darkest days in human history.…Blackburn writes well, lacing his narrative with anecdotes and word pictures that are vivid, telling and lasting. This is history first-hand, perhaps the best kind there is.”
–John Melady, Globe and Mail
“The Guns of Victory… rings with utter authenticity.”
–S.F. Wise, Ottawa Citizen
“The Guns of Victory shows how young Canadians liberated a people and captured their hearts forever.…[It] and The Guns of Normandy are now part of our national heritage, a beacon for future generations of Canadians.”
–Tom Clark, National Editor, BBS-TV
“Blackburn’s work reads like a fine novel – gripping, tense – but its strength is in the stark realism. He was there.”
–H. Clifford Chadderton, Chairman, National Council of Veteran Associations
“The Guns of Victory adds immeasurably to the understanding of what went on at the ordinary front-line soldier’s level.…The book ranks with Robert Graves’s First World War account in Good-by to All That.”
–David Green, Regina Leader-Post
From the Hardcover edition.