Friday, 1 December 2017


TEN DECISIONS: Canada’s Best, Worst and Most Far Reaching Decisions of the Second World War was written by Larry D. Rose. 

 Rose has worked as producer of CTV National News with Lloyd Robertson and as news director at CTV Kitchener. He has also worked for The Canadian Press and Global News and served as a second lieutenant and later as a captain in the Royal Canadian Armoured Corps (Reserves). He is the author of MOBILIZE! Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second World War.

 The book was published by Dundurn Press in October of this year and is described as “a fascinating examination of some of the key turning points of the war for Canada. It includes military, diplomatic and political decisions that changed the course of Canadian history. Some of them are surprising when examined today, some were little known or understood at the time and all came with sweeping, sometimes unexpected, consequences.
The book “according to the publisher “is carefully researched and authoritative but also thoughtful, entertaining and approachable.”

 The topics covered include the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, industrial policy that resulted in the revolutionary development and production of synthetic rubber and the decision to launch the Dieppe ‘raid’.

The book also focuses on some of the most powerful leaders of the war including General Guy Simonds, “Minister of Everything”, C.D. Howe and Prime Minister Mackenzie King role as an unlikely but surprisingly affective wartime leader.

One of the most interesting decisions covered here is the Ogdensburg Agreement. Never signed, existing only as a press release and often forgotten today it turned Canada from its British past to its North American future and had enormous consequences.

Equally consequential were the decisions made during and just after the war designed to prevent the return of the Great Depression and to adequately care for veterans. The effect of these various measures was to bring about a post war boom and change Canadian society forever.

J.L. Granatstein, who wrote the forward to Rose’s previous book MOBILIZE!Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second World War” has described the books as “ Well chosen, well argued, and well-written, Ten Decisions takes a fresh look at the key Canadian events of the Second World War. The crucial military and political struggles are laid out clearly and concisely, and both novices and experts will find much to consider.”

 While it is currently fashionable to judge people and events based on contemporary standards and customs it does little to help us understand these episodes.  One of the most enjoyable aspects of this book, as with his previous work, is the author’s ability to help the reader to appreciate the times, politics and motives which drove these decisions and the people who made them. 

It is normal for a new book to be surrounded by hype and superlatives by its author and publisher. What is less common is for it to be true. In this case Ten Decisions actually is “researched and authoritative but also thoughtful, entertaining and approachable” and this reader really does believe that “both novices and experts will find much to consider.”

TEN DECISIONS: Canada’s Best, Worst, and Most Far-Reaching Decisions of the Second World War

MOBILIZE! Why Canada Was Unprepared for the Second  World War