About the Author

Mark Zuehlke

Hailed by Jack Granatstein as Canadas leading popular military historian and short-listed for both the 2007 and 2013 Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history, Mark Zuehlke is the author of 26 books, including 14 devoted to military history. Tragedy at Dieppe is the latest in his bestselling Canadian Battle Series, which includes Ortona, The Liri Valley, The Gothic Line, Juno Beach Operation Husky, Holding Juno, Breakout from Juno, Terrible Victory, and On to Victory. He is also the co-author of The Canadian Military Atlas.

Zuehlke first began writing about the role Canadians played in World War II after discussing the Battle of Ortona with several veterans following a Remembrance Day ceremony in Kelowna, B.C. Discovering no book had been written on this pivotal battle, he decided to fill that gap, which resulted in the publication of Ortona: Canadas Epic Worl

Books by this Author
Assault on Juno

Assault on Juno

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Brave Battalion

Brave Battalion

The Remarkable Saga of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) in the First World War
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tagged : world war i
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Breakout from Juno

Breakout from Juno

First Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign, July 4-August 21, 1944
edition:Hardcover
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Canadian Military Atlas

Canadian Military Atlas

Four Centuries of Conflict from New France to Kosovo
edition:Paperback
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Carry Tiger to Mountain

Carry Tiger to Mountain

An Elias McCann Mystery
edition:Paperback
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tagged : crime, suspense
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For Honour's Sake

For Honour's Sake

The War of 1812 and the Brokering of an Uneasy Peace
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Excerpt

Introduction
To Meet with Frankness and Conciliation

In August 1814, eight men travelled to the ancient Flemish city of Ghent to negotiate the end of a war being fought on a faraway continent. They numbered three Britons and five Americans, for these were the two belligerent nations. The conflict had started on June 18, 1812, when President James Madison signed a war proclamation against Great Britain. Two years later, neither side could claim that the war went well.

The British had never wanted this war. Early summer of 1812 had been a period of great crisis for the nation, and war with America only worsened matters. Since 1805 Britain had been locked in a titanic struggle of empires for mastery of Europe. So far it had been unable to stop France’s Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte from turning most of the continent into his personal fiefdom. For the past four years Viscount Wellington’s army had been engaged in a bloody campaign to prevent France’s conquest of the entire Iberian Peninsula. In June of 1812, as the United States sent troops marching toward Canada, the British finally prevailed in Portugal. Pushing into the heart of Spain, they drove the French before them.

That, however, was about the only good news Lord Liverpool’s government could savour, for France’s setbacks could be attributed directly to Napoleon’s failure to reinforce his Iberian army. While Wellington besieged one French bastion after another in Spain, Napoleon assembled the 530,000-strong Grande Armée, eyes turned east toward Russia. Once the French boot heel rested on Russia, the little Corsican would wheel about and send Wellington, a general he considered timidly cautious, reeling right off the continent. British spies had reported the existence of Napoleon’s massive juggernaut and its purpose. Odds that Tsar Alexander’s antiquated army could stave off the French were considered poor. If Russia fell, Britain would face Napoleon alone.

The grinding war had reduced Britain’s economy to a shambles. Loss of European trade and the war’s ever-escalating costs had plunged the nation into a depression and imposed severe food shortages. Starvation had threatened during the past winter, and there was unrest in the streets. Ireland remained a festering sore – conditions there were worse than elsewhere in the British Isles. The cost of sustaining Wellington’s Peninsular Army placed enormous strain on the government’s coffers. At the same time, the Admiralty was demanding more resources to ensure the world’s largest fleet continued to master the seas that not only were so essential to retaining the empire but also served as Britain’s lifeline for food and other vital imports.

On May 11, an added crisis had arisen when Prime Minister Spencer Perceval was assassinated. On June 8, a reluctant Lord Liverpool, then secretary for war and the colonies, accepted the Prince Regent’s pleas to lead the government. The Prince had become de facto sovereign on February 5, 1811, when his father, King George III, was declared unfit to rule because of insanity. Faced with a glut of foreign and domestic crises and frantically trying to ensure a stable government to effectively deal with them, Liverpool had focused for the rest of the month on forming a workable cabinet. Most pressing were matters foreign, and to address these Liverpool decided not only to retain Viscount Castlereagh as foreign secretary but also to make him leader of the House of Commons, a position that Perceval had previously held. Believing it imperative that this wartime government have the support of the country and not just of the House of Commons, Liverpool announced that he would dissolve Parliament at the end of September and hold a general election. With all these events swirling about Liverpool and his cabinet, Britain’s government needed nothing less in the summer of 1812 than another war, on the other side of the Atlantic. But they had also been so distracted by matters domestic and European that attempts to head off such a war were half-hearted and badly bungled.

Britain had defended British North America during that summer and fall with sufficient zeal to thwart America’s attempts at conquest. Somewhat to the surprise of British colonial officials there and to the consternation of the Americans, almost all Canadians remained loyal to the Crown. In both Upper and Lower Canada the militia stepped forward to strengthen the thin ranks of the British redcoats. Local knowledge of battlegrounds and the ability of these farmers, fur traders, small businessmen, and shopkeepers turned soldiers to wage irregular war gave the defenders of British North America a much-needed edge over the numerically superior American forces.

The Americans had assumed that the colonists would welcome the chance to throw off the British yoke – particularly the French-Canadian majority in Lower Canada, themselves conquered by Britain less than forty-five years previously. In Upper Canada they had thought the many recent immigrants from the United States would welcome the opportunity to raise the American flag over their new homeland. But neither French Canadians nor American immigrants had heeded their calls to rise against the British. That refusal ultimately doomed all the attempted invasions.

Not only Canadian loyalty to the Crown dashed the American dream of an easy conquest of British North America. Most Indian nations, too, cast their lot in with Britain. Led by the charismatic warrior chief Tecumseh, the leaders of the powerful Indian confederacy on the western frontiers believed the best way to preserve their nations, their lands, and their way of life from the avarice of American settlers determined to expand the boundaries of the United States ever westward was through military alliance with Britain.

By the summer of 1814, the darkest days of the North American war appeared to have passed for British North America. Although supremacy on the Great Lakes had been forfeited, Britain’s armies in Canada had moved from defence to the offence – taking the war for the first time in strength onto American soil. Along the U.S. coastline, amphibious forces carried out major landings, and the naval blockade of the ports had crippled America’s economy.

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Forgotten Victory

Forgotten Victory

First Canadian Army and the Cruel Winter of 1944–45
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : world war ii
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Gothic Line, The

Gothic Line, The

Canada's Month of Hell in World War II Italy
edition:Paperback
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Hands Like Clouds

Hands Like Clouds

An Elias McCann Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
tagged : suspense
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Holding Juno

Holding Juno

Canada's Heroic Defence of the D-Day Beaches: June 7-12, 1944
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook
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Juno Beach

Juno Beach

Canada's D-Day Victory
edition:Paperback
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Liri Valley, The

Liri Valley, The

Canada's World War II Breakthrough to Rome
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On to Victory

On to Victory

The Canadian Liberation of the Netherlands, March 23—May 5, 1945
edition:Hardcover
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On To Victory

On To Victory

The Canadian Liberation of the Netherlands, March 23 to May 5, 1945
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Operation Husky

Operation Husky

The Canadian Invasion of Sicily, July 10–August 7, 1943
edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover eBook
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Ortona

Ortona

Canada's Epic World War II Battle
edition:Paperback
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Ortona Street Fight

Ortona Street Fight

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Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons

Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons

British Remittance Men in the Canadian West
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Scoundrels, Dreamers and Second Sons

Scoundrels, Dreamers and Second Sons

British Remittance Men in the Canadian West
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Sweep Lotus

Sweep Lotus

An Elias McCann Mystery
edition:Paperback
also available: eBook eBook
tagged : suspense
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Terrible Victory

Terrible Victory

First Canadian Army and the Scheldt Estuary Campaign: September 13 - November 6, 1944
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback eBook Paperback
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The Cinderella Campaign

The Cinderella Campaign

First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports
edition:Hardcover
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The Gallant Cause

Canadians in the Spanish Civil War 1936 - 1939
edition:eBook
tagged : other
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The River Battles 

Canada's Final Campaign in World War II Italy
edition:Hardcover
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Through Blood and Sweat

Through Blood and Sweat

A Remembrance Trek across Sicily’s World War II Battlegrounds
edition:Hardcover
tagged : world war ii
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Tragedy at Dieppe

Tragedy at Dieppe

Operation Jubilee, August 19, 1942
edition:eBook
also available: Hardcover Paperback
tagged : canada, france
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