Non-fiction

Category: Non-fiction

We no longer have any veterans of the First World War still with us, and so we have lost that direct connection with their stories – of the tragedy of war; of the reasons why they enlisted to fight; of the impact of the war on them, their families, and their country. And so it is up to us, a century later, to remember and to learn their stories.

On this hundredth anniversary of the end of the First World War, let us not forget the many artists who served our country. With photography and cinematography in its infancy, artists covered the battlefront creating maps, diagrams, and sketches used to plan strategy. Moreover, their recruitment posters, military portraits, and depictions of battle fields and human suffering were used to publicize Canada’s significant contribution.

 

November 11, 2018 is the 100th Anniversary of Armistice Day, marking the end of the First World War. It was also one hundred years ago that my grandfather’s life was saved on the battlefields of France by his younger brother, Jack.

 

It seems like ancient history now – but I knew my beloved grandfather Charles Light very well, since he lived into my adulthood.

 

After a long, satisfying career writing two-minute television news stories, the seed for my first book was planted on a memorable day as I embarked on the job of a lifetime.

 

It was April 2011.  I had just landed my dream promotion:  London-based Europe Bureau Chief for Global National.  The taxi was waiting to take me to the airport to begin my posting, my first major assignment to cover the Royal Wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.  As I said my goodbyes, my wife Isabella handed me a present.  It was a journal with a green leather cover.

 

If you’re a fan of The Dark Knight Trilogy, I’m sure you’ll agree that Batman Begins pales in comparison to The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight rises. The villain doesn’t hold up and there isn’t the sense of intrigue into the trials of Bruce Wayne that there is in the second two films.

But the first film is still important because it contains one of the most memorable lines in the series. And save for a few stunners from Arnold Schwarzenegger in Batman & Robin, it might be the most memorable line in any single Batman film:

I was introduced to Jackspeak when I began my 26-year naval career in HMCS CHIPPAWA on July 1st, 1980. I quickly learned my training base was called a stone frigate, floors were decks, the ceiling was a deckhead, walls were bulkheads, and the upper ridge of my boot sole was called catwalks.

I’ve always wanted to write a book. As a historian, it seemed like a natural extension of the work I had already completed, and the next step towards advancing my career. But, after finishing my dissertation, my enthusiasm for writing a book on the topic I had just spent the previous four years researching and writing about had faded. I no longer wanted to write about how black bears in Ontario were hunted, or how the regulatory process that governed these activities had changed over the years.

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