At The Sharp End: Canadians Fighting The Great War 19-14-1916 by Tim Cook is actually a few years old. The copyright on it is 2007, and I've actually wanted to read it for a few years now. Usually I prefer to review books closer to their release dates and that come from smaller presses cause, hey, the big guys have marketing departments and there are tons of other outlets that will talk about them.
So why did I chose to review At The Sharp End? Two reasons. First, it's really, really good. Second, it covers a part of history that more Canadians should be aware of since a lot of our identity came out of the conflict the book covers.
Sometimes it can be hard to read history books, especially military history. They can be dryer than most deserts, thick, and mired in minutia. At The Sharp End is definitely a thick book, but it never feels dry and presents minutia is such a way it isn't a morass of detail sucking the reader in and clubbing him over the head until he falls asleep.
The book moves at a good clip, covering a wide variety of subjects, with vivid descriptions and the actual words of Canadians serving on the front lines of the conflict. For such a thick book I was surprised how quickly I got through it, even considering I'm already a pretty quick reader as it is.
For anyone interesting in the Canadian contribution in the First World War, this is an important book. For any military history buffs, this is an important book. For any author needing to know how to depict life in the trenches and what the troops suffered, (the reason I finally got around to picking this up), this is an important book.
I hope you have a chance to read it.