Resisting Canada's myths of war and peacekeeping: Three book launches

Tuesday, September 23, 2014 - 23:00

Resisting Canada's Myths of War and Peacekeeping! We are launching three books under this common theme with authors Jessica Squires, Luke Stewart, Sarah Hipworth & Stephen Dale!

Book #1: Building Sanctuary: the Movement to Support Vietnam War Resisters in Canada, 1965-1973 by Jessica Squires

Canada enjoys a reputation as a peaceable kingdom and a refuge from militarism. Yet Canadians during the Vietnam War era met American war resisters not with open arms but with political obstacles and resistance, and the border remained closed to what were then called "draft dodgers" and "deserters." 

Between 1965 and 1973, a small but active cadre of Canadian antiwar groups and peace activists launched campaigns to open the border. Jessica Squires tells their story, often in their own words. Drawing on interviews and government documents, she reveals that although these groups' efforts ultimately met with success and helped shaped debates about nationalism and Canada's relationship with the United States, they had to overcome state surveillance and resistance from police, politicians, and bureaucrats. 

The sixties live on in the memories of those who experienced them and in the imagination of a new generation seeking a deeper knowledge of contemporary protest movements. By telling the story of the Canadian movement to support Vietnam war resisters, Building Sanctuary not only brings to light overlooked links between the anti-draft movement and immigration policy -- it challenges cherished notions about Canada in the 1960s and Canadian-American relations today.

Royalties from the sale of this book will be donated to the War Resisters Support Campaign.

Book #2: Noble Illusions, Young Canada Goes to War by Stephen Dale  

One hundred years ago saw the declaration of a war that would forever change our understanding of war. With a staggering loss of life, World War One was, by all accounts, a brutal and devastating tragedy. And yet, on the eve of the hundredth anniversary, countries around the world are preparing to commemorate the Great War not with regret but with nationalist pride. Conservative forces, already well into a program to elevate the place of the military in society, are embracing the opportunity to replace today’s apparent cynicism with an unquestioning patriotism similar to that which existed a century ago. Politicians on both sides of the Atlantic are imploring their citizens — especially their youth — to revive the sense of duty embodied in the generation that served in the trenches.

But is the ennobling nature of patriotism the real lesson that people today should extract from that now-vanished generation’s experience? Through a dialogue with a pop-culture artifact from a lost world — a boys’ annual called Young Canada — Noble Illusions examines the use of propaganda to glorify racist colonial wars and, in the wake of those, the Great War. A juxtaposition of earnest instruction on the cultivation of everyday virtues and brutal tales of war masquerading as moral lessons on valour and righteousness, Young Canada helped to persuade a generation of young Canadians to head eagerly to the trenches of World War One. Concerned that the rise of militarism is leading today’s youth in a similar direction, Stephen Dale offers this examination as an inoculation against the blind patriotism politicians are working so hard to instill.

Book #3: Let Them Stay: Oral Histories & Writings of U.S. War Resisters in Canada edited by Luke Stewart and Sarah Hipworth

Let Them Stay is a book of oral histories, public statements, and personal narratives of U.S. War Resisters in Canada from 2004 to the present.

Long before Chelsea (Bradley) Manning released the Iraq War logs and the Collateral Murder video, Canada had its own WikiLeaks in the embodied form of the American soldiers who fled to Canada seeking refuge from the UN-deemed illegal war in Iraq. Now, after an almost decade-long struggle to stay in Canada, their stories and related documents have been collected in one place: Let Them Stay, the book.

These stories are vital to understanding how the politics of war changed the lives of men and women who had valiantly served their country but whose consciences would not allow them to continue to fight. Did you oppose the Iraq War? So did these US soldiers.

Sept. 23 2014
2nd floor, 251 Bank St.

This 3-book launch event is sponsored by the Ottawa Peace Assembly, Public Service Alliance of Canada, and NOWAR-PAIX.  

Facebook Invite:

Octopus Books at 25One Community
2nd floor, 251 Bank St.
Ottawa , ON
45° 24' 58.7052" N, 75° 41' 48.6744" W
Ontario CA

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