George H. Cassar, who obtained his Ph.D. from McGill University, is a leading authority on the First World War. He has written many books on the subject, including Kitchener's War: British Strategy from 1914-1916, and Lloyd George at War, 1916-1918. He lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Hell in Flanders Fields
On 22 April 1915, the men of the 1st Canadian Division faced chlorine gas, a new lethal weapon against which they had no defence. In defiance of a particularly horrible death, or, at the very least, severe lung injury, these untested Canadians fought almost continuously for four days, often hand-to-hand, as they clung stubbornly against overwhelming odds to a vital part of the Allied line after the French units on their left fled in panic. By doing so, they saved 50,000 troops in the Ypres salient from almost certain destruction, and, in addition, prevented the momentum of the war from tipping in favour of the Germans.
In this new, deeply researched account, the distinguished military historian George H. Cassar skillfully blends into the history of the battle the graphic and moving words of the men on the front line. Illustrated with outstanding photographs and numerous maps, and drawing from diaries, letters, and documents from every level of planning, Hell in Flanders Fields is an authoritative, gripping drama of politics, strategy, and human courage.
"Cassars account is nonetheless extremely detailed and provides excellent insight into an otherwise confusing battle that was shrouded in poison gas."