Regimental fighting units, suggests historian David J. Bercuson, do something that no other group can: they nurture their members as they proceed into the unnatural world of war, putting their lives on the line for the lives of others. Regiments are constructed clans, with proud histories and traditions that are impenetrable to outsiders but essential to the morale of those who are a part of their ranks.
Canada’s most famous regiments—such as the Vandoos, the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, the Hasty P’s—are well known to many of us, but what is less known is how Canada’s regiments have shaped and been shaped by our military past. Beginning with Iroquois war bands and the arrival in 1665 of the Régiment Carignan- Salières—“The Good Regiment” dispatched by Louis XIV to the colony of New France—Bercuson recounts a proud history that extends through the War of 1812 and the Fenian Raids to the Boer War. He tracks the regiments of the First World War and the development of the modern regimental system, through to the Second World War and the Korean War. Finally, he investigates the peacekeeping years to the current operations in Afghanistan.
This comprehensive regimental history is a lively, fascinating chronicle of tradition, achievement and sometimes catastrophe. Through the eyes of many prominent regiments, Bercuson looks at the broader culture of bonding and loyalty that is underappreciated outside of the military, yet second nature within it. Anyone with an interest in Canada’s rich military history or a personal connection to the soldiers who have fought for this country—past or present—will appreciate this stirring account of Canada’s frontline forces.