Guide to Sources for Research into Military History

The First World War

Canada in the Great World War : an authentic account of the military history of Canada from the earliest days to the close of the war of the nations : Canada, Military Advisory Board; Sir William Dillon Otter K.C.B; F.L. Lessard C.B; William Hendrie; W.R. Lang (United Publishers of Canada, 1917-1921)

Canada in the Great World War was published in six volumes, starting before the end of hostilities, and completed several years later. This history was intended to be limited to the "Great War" (WWI), but the first volume sets the background as far back as Champlain and the War of 1812. The following five volumes are detailed, with accuracy that was available at that time. A very complete work, necessary to researchers of Canada's involvement in the Great War.


Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 : official history of the Canadian Army in the First World War : G.W.L. Nicholson (Ottawa : R. Duhamel, Queen's Printer and Controller of Stationery, 1962)

Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1919 is the official history of the Canadian Army during the Great War, authrized by the Army Historical Section. We also hold a later re-imp (Kingston : Montreal : McGill-Queen's University Press, 2015), that includes a new introduction and minor corrections from Nicholson's 1964 notes.


Source records of the great war : a comprehensive and readable source record of the world's great war, emphasizing the more important events, and presenting these as complete narratives in the actual words of the chief officials and most eminent leaders : presenting documents from government archives and other authoritative sources, with outline narratives, indices, chronologies, and courses of reading on sociological movements and individual national activities : Charles F. Horne, Walter F. Astin (National Alumni, New York, 1923)

An American source, published for patriotic reasons, Source records of the great war in seven volumes, is a remarkably comprehensive work covering many naval aspects of the Great War, as well as land engagements. While aerial engagements are mentioned, the detail is perhaps lacking in depth.


Marching to Armageddon: Canadians and the Great War, 1914-1919 : Desmond Morton and J. L. Granatstein (Toronto : Lester and Orpen Dennys Ltd., 1988)

From the dust jacket: "Much more than a military history, Marching to Armageddon evocatively recreates the effects of the war years on ordinary Canadians."


At the Sharp End: Canadians Fighting in the Great War, 1914-1916 : Tim Cook (Toronto : Viking Canada, 2007)

The most comprehensive history of Canadians in World War One - the first book in a groundbreaking two-volume series. It heralds a growing interest in World War One.


Shock Troops: Canadians Fighting the Great War, 1917-1918 : Tim Cook (Toronto : Viking Canada, 2008)

From the dust jacket: "Using previously unpublished letters, diaries, memoirs, and official documents from around the world, Cook captures the experience of battle through the eyes of the combatants. [...] [He] chronicles the major battles fought by the Canadian Corps—Vimy, Hill 70, Passchendaele and the Hundred Days—bloody engagements where the Canadian troops established their reputation."


Vimy: The Battle and the Legend : Tim Cook (Toronto : Allen Lane, 2017)

From the dust jacket: "How did a four-day battle at the midpoint of the Great War, a clash that had little strategic impact on the larger Allied war effort, become elevated to a national symbol of Canadian identity?  Tim Cook [...] examines the Battle of Vimy Ridge and the way the memory of it has evolved over 100 years."





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