Fighting Words


A collection of the best journalism from Canada’s wars, from the time of the Vikings to the war in Afghanistan.

Fighting Words is a collection of the very best war journalism created by or about Canadians at war. The collection spans 1,000 years of history, from the Vikings’ fight with North American Natives, through New France’s struggle for survival against the Iroquois and British, to the American Revolution, the War of 1812, the Rebellions of Lower and Upper Canada, the Fenian raids, the North-West Rebellion, the First World War, the Second World War, Korea, peacekeeping missions, and Afghanistan.

Each piece has an introduction describing the limits placed on the writers, their apparent biases, and, in many cases, the uses of the article as propaganda. The stories were chosen for their impact on the audience they were written for, their staying power, and, above all, the quality of their writing.


As the first published collection of Canadian war reporting, Fighting Words is a noteworthy book. Its value is boosted by its chronological reach and the analysis editor Mark Bourrie offers.

KW Record

...compelling accounts of high-stakes conflict, human triumph and minutiae of depravity.”


The book goes back to Vikings and Colonial wars, but back then there was no real reporting. By the First World War though, it's riveting stuff. There are tremendous reports from WWII by Matthew Halton, Ralph Allen, and a searing version of the Dieppe Raid by Ross Munro. You can also read the last story written by Michelle Lang before she was killed in Afghanistan.

About the Author

Mark Bourrie

Posted by Kendra on December 6, 2014

Mark Bourrie

Mark Bourrie is an award-winning writer who holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Ottawa. He has written for all of Canada's newspapers and magazines. His last book, The Fog of War: Censorship of Canada's Media in World War II, reached number six on Maclean's non-fiction bestseller list. He lives in Ottawa.