William Johnston is a historian with the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.
The Seabound Coast
Commended for the 2011 Keith Matthews Award
From its creation in 1910, the Royal Canadian Navy was marked by political debate over the countrys need for a naval service. The Seabound Coast, Volume I of a three-volume official history of the RCN, traces the story of the navys first three decades, from its beginnings as Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid Lauriers tinpot navy of two obsolescent British cruisers to the force of six modern destroyers and four minesweepers with which it began the Second World War. The previously published Volume II of this history, Part 1, No Higher Purpose, and Part 2, A Blue Water Navy, has already told the story of the RCN during the 19391945 conflict.
Based on extensive archival research, The Seabound Coast recounts the acrimonious debates that eventually led to the RCNs establishment in 1910, its tenuous existence following the Laurier governments sudden replacement by that of Robert Borden one year later, and the navys struggles during the First World War when it was forced to defend Canadian waters with only a handful of resources. From the effects of the devastating Halifax explosion in December 1917 to the U-boat campaign off Canadas East Coast in 1918, the volume examines how the RCNs task was made more difficult by the often inconsistent advice Ottawa received from the British Admiralty in London. In its final section, this important and well-illustrated history relates the RCNs experience during the interwar years when anti-war sentiment and an economic depression threatened the services very survival.
"In its final section, this important and well-illustrated history relates the RCNs experience during the interwar years when anti-war sentiment and an economic depression threatened the services very survival.The amount of information, graphics, photographs and maps in this book is indeed mind-boggling."
"...a must-have volume for those interested in the history of the country's maritime force."
"This is a superbly written, extensively researched and well-constructed volume. The great news about The Seabound Coast is that it ties together generations of scholarly activity with extensive new archival research in Canada and abroad, and provides those interested in Canadian naval history with a new benchmark, a new reference work and a new starting place upon which to build."
"...immense historical value"
"This book deserves a place in every Canadian library, public or private. Peter Pigott pulls off a rare hat-trick; his book is well-written, entertaining and informative. Sailing Seven Seas is essential reading for anyone interested in the era of great ships and trans-Atlantic crossings, transportation and infrastructure, social hierarchies or business history. The author's writing style is cool and crisp and a story which could have been dragged down in detail is, instead, moved along at a refreshing clip... Canadians would be well served by more writing by this author since his work is both interesting and essential."
William G.P. Rawling is a historian with the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.
Richard H. Gimblett is command historian of the Canadian Navy and past president of the Canadian Nautical Research Society. A former serving officer, he is a contributor to volume 1 of the official history of the Royal Canadian Navy (1867-1939), and edited and contributed to The Naval Service of Canada, 1910-2010: The Centennial Story. He lives in Ottawa.
John MacFarlane is a historian with the Department of National Defence in Ottawa.