No Price Too High:
Canadians & the Second World War

by Terry Copp, Richard Nielsen, Barney Danson,
320 pages,
ISBN: 0075527138

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Brief Reviews
by Derek Lundy

No Price Too High: Canadians and the Second World War by Terry Copp, with Richard Nielsen (McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 255 pages, $39.99 cloth), is based on the television series of the same title. The series was designed as an antidote to what many people (particularly veterans) saw as the revisionist poison injected into Canadian minds by the 1990 television series, The Valour and the Horror. Copp, a military historian at Wilfrid Laurier University, seeks to do the same thing with the book.

Both the television programs (which were produced and co-written by Nielsen) and Copp's narrative aspire to tell the straightforward and traditional version of Canadians at war. They categorically reject the notion (put forward in The Valour and the Horror) of Canadian command incompetence, and of bloody battles fought without necessity or purpose.

No Price Too High is impressively illustrated and follows Canadian servicemen through the travails of North Atlantic convoy duty, the defence of Hong Kong, the bomber offensive against Germany, the Dieppe Raid, and the Italian and post-D-Day campaigns.

The book's most effective, and affecting, portions are the eloquent letters and journals of the men themselves: from the lieutenant in the Van Doos who volunteers for a "war of ideas" that has "profoundly touched" him, to the young fighter pilot whose real terror is mistaking friend for foe in the breakneck tumult of dogfights, to the war artist Charles Comfort's description of the killing fields of Monte Cassino: "some imagined landscape of the moon".

No Price Too High's ideological agenda comes to seem insignificant beside the unadorned and moving story of the war experiences of the almost one million Canadians who volunteered for service.

Derek Lundy


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