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August 2013

Books on Film at TIFF 2013

August 30, 2013 | Winona | Comments (1)

The Toronto International Film Festival is just around the corner, which means it's time for my second annual round-up of books on film at TIFF. Last year I wrote about ten books that had been adapted for the screen and selected to show at the fest. This year there are so many that I'll be blogging about them in two parts.

First up: fiction books on film at TIFF 2013!


 August: Osage County


August Osage County by Tracey LettsBased on the Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County by Tracy Letts. 

Featuring a mega-watt ensemble case, including Meryl Streep and Julia Roberts, this TIFF gala presentation film is already generating Oscar buzz. The film is adapted from the play of the same name that ran on Broadway for almost two years (648 performances!) and has since been produced around the world, winning multiple awards, including a Tony for Best Play and a Pulitzer for Drama. If you've never tried reading a play before, this one - of several by Letts - is a pretty great place to start: a darkly comic portrait of a dysfunctional family whose patriarch disappears, prompting the family's reunion and forcing closely-held secrets out into the open. You can read all of Meryl's lines - as the dying, drug-addled matriarch - for yourself, then prepare your very own Oscar acceptance speech!


The Dinner

The Dinner film

The Dinner by Herman KochBased on the internationally bestselling novel The Dinner by Herman Koch (also: audiobook | eaudiobook | ebook | large print | talking book).

Directed by Menno Meyjes, who wrote the screenplay adaptation of The Color Purple, this film takes a scathing look at contemporary European society and what it finds is pretty vile. Two couples meet in a swanky Amsterdam restaurant to discuss what to do about an unspeakable event involving their sons. As the dinner progresses it becomes apparent that their civilized pretenses are little more than a mask for the savagery beneath. Based loosely on a true crime event in which three middle-class Spanish teenagers beat a homeless woman to death, this novel went straight to the top of the Dutch bestseller lists when it was first published, and has since become something of an international phenomenon.


The Double

The Double

The Double by Fyodor DostoyevskyBased on the novella The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (also: eaudiobook | ebook | talking book).

Jesse Eisenberg stars in this update of Dostoyevsky's novella about a man who finds himself usurped by his doppelgänger ("double-goer" or "double walker" in German). The Double, first published in 1846, the second of Dostoyevsky's published works, is now considered a classic of doppelgänger literature; those stories in which the protagonist finds himself tormented in some way by his alter ego, identical twin, or paranormal double, who may be a stand-in for his dark side, or a sign of growing paranoia and madness. Other examples of the doppelgänger in both book and movie versions include The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde (book | movie) and Fight Club (book | movie ). 


Hateship Loveship

Hateship Loveship

Hateship Friendship Courtship Loveship Marriage by Alice MunroBased on a short story from the collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro (also: audiobook | ebook | large print | talking book).

The talented cast of Kristen Wiig, Guy Pearce, Nick Nolte and Hailee Steinfeld dramatize the smartly funny and gently moving title story from Munro's 2001 book of short stories. This isn't the first time the beloved Canadian writer's work has made it to the big screen: Sarah Polley's Away from Her is based on the story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" from this same collection. I have always loved Munro's stories for their deceptive simplicity, their everydayness, combined with the emotional heft and literary depth of any great novel. The critics adore her too: she won the Man Booker International Prize for her body of work and is often referred to as one of our country's greatest writers. If you haven't had a chance to read anything by Alice Munro yet, now's a perfect opportunity.




Joe A Novel by Larry BrownBased on the raw and gritty novel Joe by Larry Brown (also: eaudiobook).

Nicolas Cage stars as Joe Ransom, a tough-as-nails ex-con who becomes the unlikely role model to an illiterate teenager living with a family of squatters in this modern Southern gothic tale. Joe was the fourth book published in as many years by Larry Brown, a hard-drinking, chain-smoking Mississippi firefighter and writer who, as he describes it in his autobiography On Fire, got his education while staying awake reading and writing at the fire station while the other firefighters slept. Joe is a beautifully written, minimalist novel of the contemporary blue-collar south, which Publisher's Weekly praised in its review, stating that "with this powerful, immensely affecting novel Brown comes into his own as a writer of stature."


Labor Day

Labor Day

Labor Day by Joyce MaynardBased on the coming-of-age novel Labor Day by Joyce Maynard (also: large print).

Director Jason Reitman's latest film stars Kate Winslet as a depressed, divorced mother and Josh Brolin as an escaped convict, whose chance meeting just before Labor Day changes both their lives and the life of her thirteen-year-old son. Publisher's Weekly said of this novel that Maynard's prose is "beautiful, and her characters winningly complicated, with no neat tie-ups in the end. A sometimes painful tale, but captivating and surprisingly moving." The author of several works of fiction and non-fiction, Maynard gained notoriety when she disclosed the relationship she'd had with J. D. Salinger when he was 53 and she 18 in her memoir At Home in the World 


Life of Crime

Life of Crime

The Switch by Elmore LeonardBased on the crime thriller The Switch by Elmore Leonard (also: eaudiobook | ebook | large print). 

Starring Jennifer Aniston, Tim Robbins, John Hawkes, and Mos Def, this crime caper about two career criminals whose kidnapping plan goes awry is sure to be wildly entertaining, based as it is on a book by the late, great Elmore Leonard, the "Dickens of Detroit." The best-selling novelist and screenwriter was a master of snappy dialogue and wickedly entertaining noir style and it's all here in The Switch. When Leonard passed away earlier this summer he left behind dozens of terrific books, many of which have been adapted for the film and television - a personal fave of mine is Out of Sight (book | movie).


The Right Kind of Wrong


Sex and Sunsets by Tim SandlinBased on the novel Sex and Sunsets by Tim Sandlin.

This romantic comedy by veteran director Jeremiah Chechik stars Ryan Kwanten as a professional dishwasher and inveterate dreamer who falls head over heels for a bride on the day of her wedding - to someone else. Novelist and screenwriter Sandlin is known for his offbeat, sometimes satirical, always irreverent take on American culture, and his many books have earned him comparisons to Jack Kerouac and Tom Robbins; he has even been referred to as the "George Carlin of fiction."



Check back next week for part two of my round-up of books on film at TIFF: non-fiction, including a harrowing memoir; one or two historical biographies; a chilling true crime story; a conspiracy debunked; and an insider exposé. Coming soon to a library blog near you!

Until then, please enjoy this short intermission...




Snapshots in History: August 20: Remembering Elmore Leonard

August 21, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)


On August 20 and beyond, take a moment to acknowledge author Elmore Leonard (Born: October 11, 1925; Died: August 20, 2013). Leonard is best known for his crime/mystery fiction and suspense thriller novels, several of which were turned into major motion pictures. However, Leonard got his start by writing western fiction and stories as he liked Westerns as movies and wanted to sell stories to Hollywood.  He wrote these stories on the side while working for an advertisement agency. Leonard admired Ernest Hemingway’s writing and his emphasis on the sparse use of words but did not share Hemingway’s tendency to be too serious. 1961 became a year of change for Elmore Leonard when he quit his job to write full-time and changed his focus from westerns towards the contemporary crime novel and suspense thriller, coupled with freelance advertising writing as needed until things started to take off and favourable reviews began to roll in. As a tribute to Elmore Leonard for hanging in there for the long haul so millions of people around the world could enjoy his novels and stories, it is Elmore Leonard’s western stories that I would like to showcase here to demonstrate his versatility as an author. Consider the following book for loan from Toronto Public Library collections:

The complete Western stories of Elmore Leonard

The complete Western stories of Elmore Leonard. [1st ed.] / Elmore Leonard, 2004. Book. Adult Fiction. WESTERN LEO.

Enjoy some of Elmore Leonard’s famous western short stories including “Three-Ten to Yuma” and “The Captives”, both of which became the basis for movies.

Interested in the movies? Who would you rather watch as character Ben Wade from 3:10 to Yuma? Glenn Ford or Russell Crowe? Make your choice or try both movie versions of 3:10 to Yuma that are available for loan from Toronto Public Library collections:

3:10 to Yuma 3h 10 pour Yuma [DVD] [Special ed.] / Glenn Ford et al., 2007, [1957]. DVD. Adult Feature. English/French (with subtitles). FEATURE THR.

3:10 to Yuma 3:10 pour Yuma [DVD] / Christian  Bale, Russell Crowe et al., 2008, [2007]. DVD. Adult Feature. English dialogue/ dubbed French. Closed-captioned. FEATURE THR.

Sympathize with the lone rancher who is left on his own to ensure that a captured outlaw is put on a train bound for Fort Yuma. Read Roger Ebert’s review of the Russell Crowe version. Access reviews of the 1957 movie version through the Rotten Tomatoes website.


The tall t [DVD] / Richard Boone, Maureen O’Sullivan, and Randolph Scott, 2012, [1957]. DVD. Adult Feature. English. FEATURE TAL.

This movie is based on Elmore Leonard’s story “The Captives” that was published in magazine format in 1955. Randolph Scott portrayed former ranch hand Pat Brennan trying to strike out on his own for opportunities. Brennan became embroiled in a stagecoach holdup, becoming a prisoner along with copper mine heiress Doretta Mims (Maureen O’Sullivan) and her husband Willard Mims (John Hubbard). Richard Boone portrayed gang leader Frank Usher.

Read the New York Times review of The Tall T.

Express Checkout is Coming to Albert Campbell Branch!

August 20, 2013 | Winona | Comments (0)

That's right folks, the future is near: Albert Campbell will soon join the ranks of the growing number of Toronto Public Library branches with Express Checkout. And, as an added bonus, we'll be getting a little bit of a facelift too!

In order for this to happen we will be closed for about two weeks. We apologize for the inconvenience. We are looking forward to the enhancements to our library space and services and we hope you'll agree that it's worth the wait. You cooperation during this minor renovation is very much appreciated!

Auf der baustelle by dierk schaefer
Image of minor renovation "auf der baustelle" by "dierk schaefer" via Flickr. Used under Creative Commons license.
If you have questions about this upcoming closure here is some information that you may find useful:

When will Albert Campbell branch be closed and when will it open again?

We will be closed from Monday August 26 to Monday September 9, 2013. We will open again on Tuesday September 10, 2013, at 9:00 a.m.

Where is the closest library branch?

There are two branches close by:

  • Taylor Memorial - 1440 Kingston Rd. (Warden Ave. and Kingston Rd.), 416-396-8939
  • Eglinton Square - 1 Eglinton Square, Unit 126 (Victoria Park Ave. and Eglinton Ave. East), 416-396-8920

I have library items (books, DVDs, magazines, etc.) that are due when the branch is closed. What should I do?

Library items that would normally be due during the closure will have their due dates extended to the date we re-open: Tuesday September 10, 2013. Please note that while we are closed our Book Drop will also be closed so you will not be able to return items to our branch. As always, however, most library items may be returned to any of the 98 Toronto Public Library branches in the city. 

I have placed a hold on a library item to be picked up at Albert Campbell branch. What should I do?

A hold that is sent for pick up at Albert Campbell branch while we are closed will be processed when we re-open on Tuesday September 10, 2013. To get your hold as quickly as possible you may therefore want to change your pick up location so that the item will be sent to another branch and held for you there. Or, if you prefer, you may suspend your hold during our closure and re-activate it when we re-open. If you would like to manage your holds yourself online, please click here for instructions. If you would rather have us do it for you please just speak to library staff for assistance.

If you have a question that is not addressed here, or would like clarification of the above information, please let us know. You may visit the branch or call us at 416-396-8900, or leave your question in the Comments section below. 

Snapshots in History: August 15: Remembering Oscar Peterson

August 15, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Television; Program: Take 30; Broadcast Date: March 7, 1979; Guest(s): Oscar Peterson; Host: Harry Brown, Hana Gartner; Duration: 14:03)




(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Television; Program: Portraits [Oscar releaxes at his Ontario cottage]; Broadcast Date: Feb. 16, 1983; Guest(s): Oscar Peterson; Narrator: William Whitehead; Duration: 4:01)




(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Radio; Program: 940 on the Dial [Oscar Peterson’s swinging style]; Broadcast Date: Nov. 22, 1945;
Guest(s): Oscar Peterson; Host: Genevieve Barry; Duration: 8:55)


On August 15 and beyond, take a moment to remember Canadian jazz great Oscar Peterson (Born: August 15, 1925 in Montréal, Québec, Canada; Died: December 23, 2007 in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada), the winner of eight Grammy Awards, and arguably, one of the best jazz pianists of all time. Peterson enjoyed the respect of fellow jazz musicians such as Count Basie and Duke Ellington. He counted crooner Frank Sinatra amongst his fans.

Peterson began playing the trumpet at five years of age but switched to the piano at eight years of age after a bout of tuberculosis. He established the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1951 that produced music using the piano, guitar, and bass. Peterson recorded and performed music in Europe and the United States as well as Canada. He also authored four volumes of exercises to encourage future jazz pianists. The onset of arthritis reduced his schedule during the 1980s and he was required to take time off to recuperate following a stroke in 1993. For his contribution to music, Peterson also received the International Jazz Hall of Fame Award, Juno Awards, the Order of Canada, the Order of Arts and Letters in France, and the Governor General's Performing Arts Award (1992) as well as honorary degrees from a variety of universities. Consider the following items for loan from Toronto Public Library collections:

Complete world transcriptions [1952] [sound disc] / Sounds of Yester Year; Oscar Peterson Trio, 2009. CD. Music. JAZZ OSC.

(Performers: Oscar Peterson Trio (Oscar Peterson, piano; Barney Kessel, guitar; Ray Brown, bass).

Gold [2 sound discs] / Oscar Peterson, 2008. CD. Music. JAZZ PET.    

(The contents were recorded variously between 1932 and 1994. Disc 2 included music recorded at live performances.)

Oscar Peterson live in '63, '64 & '65 [DVD] / Reelin’ in the Years Productions; Oscar Peterson et al., 2008. DVD. Music. Adult Non-Fiction. 786.2165 PET.

(The DVD included performances for the following television programs: Mørk sang (Sweden, 1963), Swing it Oscar (Denmark, 1964) and Live in Finland (Finland, 1965).)

Oscar Peterson, 1950-1958 [2 sound discs] / Oscar Peterson Quartet; Oscar Peterson Trio, 2009. CD. Music. JAZZ PET.

(Disc 1: 1950-1955; Disc 2: 1955-1958.)

Oscar Peterson the life of a legend [DVD] / Oscar Peterson et al.; View Video, 2010. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction. 786.2165 PET OSC.

(Performers: Oscar Peterson, piano ; with the Oscar Peterson Trio (includes Ray Brown, bass ; Herb Ellis, guitar) and various other performers.)


Oscar Peterson music in the key of Oscar. [Deluxe ed.] [DVD] / Oscar Peterson et al.; View Video, 2004. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction. 786.2165 PET OSC.

(Performers: Oscar Peterson ; Ella Fitzgerald, Quincy Jones, Ray Brown ; Herb Ellis ; Norman Granz, Dizzy Gillespie, Jeff Hamilton and more. The documentary covered Oscar Peterson’s career from his early Montréal boogie-woogie days through to his rise to international popularity with ground-breaking jazz music.)



Would you rather read about Oscar Peterson instead of listening to his music? Try the following books:


Oscar Peterson: a musical biography / Alex Barris, 2002. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 786.2165 PET BAR.


Barris employed a loose chronological approach coupled with many anecdotes on the musical career of Oscar Peterson. The book included a partial discography of Peterson’s music as the recordings from the late 1940s were not included.


Oscar Peterson the will to swing

Oscar Peterson: the will to swing / Gene Lees, 2000. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 786.2165 PET LEE.

Jazz historian and song lyricist Lees examined the career, personality, and intertwined family history of outstanding Canadian jazz pianist Oscar Peterson.


You can also read what the great man had to say about himself:


A jazz odyssey the life of Oscar Peterson

A jazz odyssey: the life of Oscar Peterson / Oscar Peterson ; editor & consultant, Richard Palmer, 2002. Book. Adult Non-Fiction. 786.2165 PET PET.


Snapshots in History: August 6 & 9: Remembering Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the Atomic Bombs

August 14, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Television; Program: Cdn. [Canadian] Frigates for Far East - Canadian Army Newsreel [Hiroshima: Canadian Navy prepares for Far East combat]; Broadcast Date: July 22, 1945; Duration: 1:51)



(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Television; Program: Newsmagazine [Hiroshima: still feeling the fallout]; Broadcast Date: July 31, 1960; Guest: Fumio Shigeto; Host: Norman DePoe; Reporter: Michael Maclear; Duration: 8:01)



(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Radio; Program: Assignment [The Hiroshima Maidens]; Broadcast Date: Aug. 8, 1957; Guest(s): Yoshie Enokawa, William Maxwell Hitzig, Shigeko Niimoto, Hiroko Tasaka, Helen Yokoyama; Host: Maria Barrett; Reporter: Colin Edwards; Duration: 7:54)



(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Radio; Program: Assignment [A Canadian in Hiroshima]; Broadcast Date: Aug. 7, 1961; Guests: Joe Ohari; Host: Maria Barrett; Reporter: Laurence Nowry; Duration: 13:05)



(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Radio; Program: IDEAS [Hiroshima: the morality of the bomb]; Broadcast Date: Sept. 13, 1984; Guests: Alice Kimball-Smith, Robert Oppenheimer, Robert Wilson; Interviewer: Owen Gingerich; Duration: 11:06)



(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives); Medium: Television; Program: The Journal [Hiroshima: was it right?]; Broadcast Date: Aug. 5, 1985; Guest: Arjun Makhijani; Host: Jim Nunn; Interviewer: Keith Morrison; Duration: 4:46)



(Credits: Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC Digital Archives; Medium: Television; Program: The National [Witness at Nagasaki]; Broadcast Date: August 5, 1985; Guest: Jack Ford ; Reporter: Dan Bjarnason; Duration: 2:40) (“Canadian prisoner of war Jack Ford describes seeing the second atomic bomb fall on Nagasaki.”)


On August 6 and 9 and beyond, take a moment to remember the anniversary of the atomic bomb explosions on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945 and Nagasaki, Japan on August 9, 1945 during the latter stages of the Second World War. To date, the atomic bombs dropped on those two cities are the only ones to be used in wartime. When one looks back at these events, one cannot ignore the immediate death and destruction brought upon the Japanese people and these cities by these instruments of enormous power nor can one overlook the longer-term ill-health effects brought about by radiation exposure. On the other hand, the United States was concerned about heavy American casualties in the event of a large-scale invasion similar to that carried out in France in June 1944. Add to that the mistreatment of many Allied prisoners-of-war (verified by survivors) by Japanese forces and the ethical debates abound about who did what to whom. The debate about the nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki continues to the present time. Public libraries often carry materials offering divergent points of view on controversial topics. Consider the following items for loan from Toronto Public Library collections:


Before the fall-out the human chain reaction from Marie Curie to Hiroshima

Before the fall-out: the human chain reaction from Marie Curie to Hiroshima / Diana Preston, 2005. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

The nuclear bomb explosion over Hiroshima killed an estimated 140,000 people. This book looked at different people at different times who, arguably, contributed to the creation and deadly detonation of the atomic bomb, including Marie Curie and her discovery of radium, the research contributions of Albert Einstein, Robert Oppenheimer, Lord Rutherford and others to the process. During World War Two, members of the American Manhattan Project found themselves in competition with the allied British Maud Committee and the opposing German Uranium Club. 


First into Nagasaki the censored eyewitness dispatches on postatomic Japan and its prisoners of war

First into Nagasaki: the censored eyewitness dispatches on post-atomic Japan and its prisoners of war / George Weller, 2006. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

The late Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter relayed his challenges in dealing with the media blackout imposed by General Douglas McArthur and the Allied occupation forces following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Weller was able to enter Nagasaki posing as an American colonel but wrote of what he saw and expressed concern over “the anatomy of the radiated man”. Unfortunately, his dispatches were intercepted by the military censors. Weller was also the first journalist to enter Japanese prisoner-of-war camps where Allied prisoners recounted their experiences of harsh labour and torture. Following Weller’s death in 2002, his son found a fragile copy of this previously unpublished work and brought it to life. Those interested in war zone reporting will find this book interesting.


Hiroshima Nagasaki the real story of the atomic bombings and their aftermath

Hiroshima Nagasaki: the real story of the atomic bombings and their aftermath / Paul Ham, 2012. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Relive the story of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings through survivors’ accounts: child labourers forced to work in war factories as well as wives and children of men off at war. Add to that the fact that no warning was offered of what was about to happen. The American leadership tried to justify the atomic course of action as their best course of action with an emphasis on military targets. This view is challenged by the previously intense Allied air bombing campaign against Japanese cities and civilians. Many people still believe that the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki helped to end the Second World War. 



Shockwave countdown to Hiroshima

Shockwave : countdown to Hiroshima [1st ed.] / Stephen Walker, 2005. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

This book focused on a three-week period in July-August 1945, beginning with the first atomic bomb test in New Mexico on July 16, 1945 and leading to the detonation of the “Little Boy” atomic bomb over Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. Interviews with witnesses and survivors enhanced the book’s staging of events, viz.: the co-pilot of the Enola Gay airplane that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima (who kept a detailed diary), the atomic scientist who armed the bomb in mid-air using a screwdriver, and the Japanese student who searched for his lover amidst the ruins of Hiroshima. 


Consider borrowing these DVDs from Toronto Public Library collections:

Atomic mom [DVD] / Emiko Okada, M.T. Silvia, and Pauline H. Silvia; Women Make Movies, 2011. English/Japanese with subtitles. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.

Put together two women with different experiences of the atomic bomb – an American research scientist who attended several nuclear explosions at the Nevada Test Site and who is now having second thoughts about the American atomic testing program – and a Japanese survivor of the Hiroshima explosion who was 8-years old at the time of detonation (and whose 12-year old sister was never found) and who now commits her efforts to education and disarmament as well as sharing her account of what happened on August 6, 1945.


Hiroshima [DVD] / Martin Duckworth, Michael Fukushima, and Terre Nash; National Film Board of Canada, 2005. English. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.

The contents include: 1) No more hibakusha (55 min, 28 s) directed by Martin Duckworth; 2) If you love this planet (25 min, 51 s) directed by Terre Nash; and, 3) Minoru: memory of exile (18 min, 43 s) directed by Michael Fukushima.

Click here for French language version.


Hiroshima [DVD] / A & E Television Networks, 2011. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.

This documentary helped to dispel a myth that there was film footage of the actual moment of detonation over Hiroshima. Join historian Martin Morgan and others as they analyzed an unprecedented event in world history.


24 hours after Hiroshima [DVD] / National Geographic, 2010. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.

This documentary reported on what an expert and scientific team from the Manhattan Project (established by the Allies to develop the atomic bomb) determined happened within the first 24 hours of the explosion of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima.


White light black rain the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki

White light, black rain the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki [DVD] / Taro Goto, Atsuko Shigesawa, and Steven Okazaki; HBO Video, 2007. English/Japanese with English subtitles. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.

View archival footage and stark photographic representations of the destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Listen to interviews from Japanese survivors and from Americans who felt that their intervention in this unique manner would help to end World War Two.

Snapshots in History: August 8: Remembering Canada at the Battle of Amiens

August 8, 2013 | John P. | Comments (0)

On August 8 and beyond, take a moment to acknowledge the role of Canadian troops at the Battle of Amiens in France, beginning on August 8, 1918, during World War One. In July 1918, General Sir Henry Rawlinson of the British Fourth Army met with General Sir John Monash of the Australian Corps, General Sir Arthur Currie of the Canadian Corps, and the British commanders of the 3rd Corps and the Cavalry Corps to plan strategy for the ensuing battle. Part of the strategy involved successfully moving all four divisions of the Canadian Corps to the Amiens area by August 7, 1918 without being detected by the opposing forces. Another novelty employed for this battle was to place Canadian and Australian forces side by side to fight in conjunction with one another. This development was significant for the Allied side as the Canadian and Australian troops each earned reputations for utilizing aggressive and advanced tactics resulting in some notable victories. Consider the following titles for loan from Toronto Public Library collections:


Amiens dawn of victory

Amiens: dawn of victory / James McWilliams and R. James Steel., 2000. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Was there a decisive battle in the First World War? Authors McWilliams and Steel argued that the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918 was such a battle in that a string of further victorious encounters resulted. Even the opposing German General Erich Ludendorff dubbed this day as “the black day of the German army”. Read about how Allied troops (including Canada’s) worked together using secrecy and deception in conjunction with battle tactics to defeat the German forces.


The day we won the war turning point at Amiens 8 August 1918

The day we won the war: turning point at Amiens, 8 August 1918 / Charles Messenger, 2008. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Messenger examined the role of the British Army and that of its Australian, Canadian, French, and American allies in undertaking an “all arms” approach to warfare (including the use of tanks) in the latter stages of World War One with excellent battle planning. The book drew upon sources of diaries and letters from the time period. Read the review by Martin Hornby of the Western Front Association.


Spearhead to victory: Canada and the Great War / Daniel G. Dancocks, 1987. Book. Adult Non-Fiction.

Dancocks reminded readers that Canada’s military contribution in the First World War exceeded the victories and sacrifices remembered by Canadians at the Battles of Vimy Ridge and Passchendaele. Canadian troops were major participants in the Battle of Amiens on August 8, 1918 and subsequent advances into Arras, Cambrai, Valenciennes, and finally Mons at the end of the war on November 11th. Dancocks highlighted the importance of both Canadian and Australian troops as the most effective fighting forces in the war. Some reviewers including William Rayner (Vancouver Sun, February 13, 1988, C4) acknowledged the detailed information provided in the book but questioned the unlimited admiration of the Canadian Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Currie, as “the greatest soldier this century has produced” rather than arguably, the greatest soldier that Canada has produced. Let the reader decide…

If you would like to watch something, consider this DVD set:

Canada's greatest battles: Vimy Ridge & the last 100 days [DVD] / Norflicks Production Ltd. and National Film Board of Canada, c2006. DVD. Documentary. Adult Non-Fiction.

Learn about the highlights of Canada’s military contribution on the Western Front in the latter part of World War One, including the Battle of Vimy Ridge, the Battle of Passchendaele, the Battle of Amiens, and the last 100 days leading to the November 11, 1918 armistice.

The Albert Campbell District Blog is an online resource and place where you can access information related to the Albert Campbell, Eglinton Square, McGregor Park, and Kennedy Eglinton branches. It will feature reading recommendations, information on new titles and resources in the branches, special events and programs, as well as other information of interest to you. We encourage you to make this blog an interactive space by replying and commenting on posts and by subscribing to the RSS feature which allows you to receive blog updates without having to search for them.