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by Norman Leach

Fully-illustrated, easily-accessible account of the WWI battle that details Canada's coming of age in The Great War.

During WWI, the battle for the tiny Belgium town Passchendaele was one of the most significant tests of Canadian courage and expertise. British Commander-in-Chief General Douglas Haig had devised one of the most controversial stratagems of the entire war: Allied forces would attack headlong into the heavily fortified German entrenchments, capture the town of Passchendaele and its highlands, and drive toward the coast to destroy German submarine bases.

General Arthur Currie's Canadian Corps was called to the front for this attack. After their victories at Vimy Ridge and Hill 70, the Canadians had earned the nickname "storm troopers" for, like a storm, they could not be stopped. Even for the battle-hardened Canadians, Passchendaele was a living hell. Many drowned in the mud before ever seeing the enemy. Others died from deadly chlorine gas, and others from artillery shells that rained down in numbers over 175 per square metre.

The Canadians seized Passchendaele, succeeding where all others had failed, and displaying high standards of leadership, staff work and training.The Corps had suffered 16,000 casualties; nine Victoria Crosses were awarded to acknowledge the extraordinary heroism. Though the actual value of the campaign is debated to this day, one thing is certain: Canadians had been tested against the worst horrors of the Great War, and they had proven their valour.

Coteau Books has made Passchendaele available in alternate formats in cooperation with NNELS.


9" x 10" 56 pages
19.95 CDN; 19.95 USD
E-Book Price
History Case Bound With Dust Jacket Adult
Norman Leach
Author Photo

About the Author

Norman Leach is a historian, freelance writer and professional speaker from Calgary, Alberta. He graduated with a degree in Strategic Studies from the University of Manitoba, and he now gives speeches around the world on Canadian military history.

Norman's writing has won him two Crystal Awards from the University of Lethbridge, and he has been awarded both the Canadian 125 and Alberta Centennial Medals.

He has also been named an honourary peacekeeper by the Canadian Armed Forces. Most recently, he served as historical advisor on the Paul Gross production of the film Passchendaele.

From the author: I have always been fascinated by Canadian history. As a kid travelling with my parents, I forced the entire car to stop at every museum along the road, no matter how big or how small. I am not interested in writing the great tomes about which battalion moved up when.

I tell the true stories of the officers and men soldiers who have been lost to time. My work is their lives, their sacrifices and their success and failures.

I have written about the men in the shell holes of Passchendaele to the soldiers fighting in Afghanistan. Each time, I feel the men and women who have given their lives for our country looking over my shoulder. They seem to be saying "Please get it right, we deserve at least that."

Today I speak around the world on Canadian military history, and am a consultant on historical movies and documentaries. I am a senior volunteer with both the Military Museums and Lougheed House in Calgary, am the Managing Editor of "Honour Magazine" and lecture at many colleges and Universities. For that kid who stopped at every museum it can't get any better.


Finalist, Award for Publishing, Saskatchewan Book Awards 2008

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