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humanities 341 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 phone Quebec; Peter Ayers on Newfoundland; Paul Yachnin and Brent Whitted on >Canadian Bacon= (anti-Stratfordianism); Michael McKinnie on a 1995 King Lear whose cross-gender casting got entangled with affirmative action in Ontario. Daniel Fischlin, Mark Fortier, Lois Sherlow, and Ric Knowles discuss adaptations, beginning with Shakespere=s Skull and Falstaff=s Nose (1889) and proceeding through Cruel Tears (Humphrey and the Dumptrucks); Djanet Sears=s Harlem Duet; a pidgin-English MacBed; Hamlet, Prince du Québec; Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet); Mad Boy Chronicle (Hamlet); Cloning Miranda. This valuable book is a tribute to Canadian inventiveness. Canadians have taken an oppressive imperial author and located (with that fruitful Canadian/Shakespearean indecisiveness) delightful middle ground between worshiping him and throwing him overboard. (LINDA WOODBRIDGE) Brent Bryon Watson. Far Eastern Tour: The Canadian Infantry in Korea 1950B53 McGill Queen=s University Press. xvi, 238. $34.95 It is not uncommon for historians to lament the status of the Korean War in popular memory as the >forgotten war.= After all, historians are in the memory business, and few conflicts as large and significant in worldhistorical terms as the Korean War have escaped the scrutiny of historians, whether abroad or in Canada. As Brent Bryon Watson argues, the Canadian military failed to learn the lessons of Korea, lessons that in the opinion of the author may have helped avoid the more recent >difficulties= in Somalia. In this sense, Far Eastern Tour is designed to serve as an institutional memory for the military. Yet its appeal is far broader. Based on interviews with veterans, recently declassified documents, and research trips to Korea, Far Eastern Tour is a lively read that avoids grand military strategy or toplevel decision-making to focus on the lowly infantrymen B the grunts that did the fighting. It is not a happy story. Far Eastern Tour, unlike earlier research on the Canadian participation in the Korean War, does not revel in wartime spirit or victory. There are no accounts of the Montreal versus Toronto rivalry over which city could produce the most recruits. Nor are the deservingly lauded Canadian victories on hills such as Kap=yong given much attention. There is little to celebrate in this account. As the author himself admits, he was >troubled by what seemed at times to be an endless catalogue of criticisms,= yet the realities of the soldier on the frontlines of Korea offer few other conclusions. 342 letters in canada 2002 university of toronto quarterly, volume 73, number 1, winter 2003/4 Indeed, as Watson is careful to point out, life as an infantryman is always one of hardship and drudgery punctuated by intense moments of battle. Korea was no different. But taking up the vantage point of the troops fighting in the hills of Korea, Watson argues that the Canadian leadership, both political and military, left the Canadian troops unprepared for the war, making the infantrymen=s experiences >far more difficult and unpleasant that they need have been.= Watson amply discusses these insufficiencies, showing how, even at the early point of recruitment, pressure to fill the roles quickly led normal vetting procedures to be abandoned, such that in one case even a man with a wooden leg was not turned away. Troops were suited in winter clothing with nylon shells that when rubbed together made loud noise, hardly amenable to the style of stealth patrol fighting at night that characterized much of the combat in the last two years of the war. Training had been designed for the European theatre, leaving the infantrymen, whether individually or collectively, without the proper preparation for the static, hill warfare. But perhaps most incredibly, the high command failed to provide appropriate weapons, leaving soldiers with rifles and hand grenades ill suited to the style of battle in Korea. Watson explains how the lack of preparation extended into the Canadian army=s incapability >of attending to the needs of its men.= Making comparisons to other allied troops, in particular the Americans and British, Watson shows how in matters as simple as writing paper, food, and bivouac equipment the Canadian soldiers endured unnecessarily primitive conditions...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 341-342
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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