Vimy by Pierre BertonVimy by Pierre Berton


byPierre Berton

Paperback | October 9, 2001

Pricing and Purchase Info


Earn 125 plum® points

In stock online

Ships free on orders over $25

Available in stores


One chill Easter dawn in 1917, a blizzard blowing in their faces, the four divisions of the Canadian Corps in France went over the top of a muddy scarp knows as Vimy Ridge. Within hours, they held in their grasp what had eluded both British and French armies in over two years of fighting: they had seized the best-defended German bastion on the Western Front.

How could an army of civilians from a nation with no military tradition secure the first enduring victory in thirty-two months of warfare with only 10,000 casualties, when the French had lost 150,000 men in their unsuccessful attempt? Pierre Berton's haunting and lucid narrative shows how, unfettered by military rules, civilians used daring and common sense to overcome obstacles that had eluded the professionals.

Drawing on unpublished personal accounts and interviews, Berton brings home what it was like for the young men, some no more than sixteen years old, who clawed their way up the sodden, shell-torn slopes in a struggle they innocently believed would make war obsolete. He tells of the soldiers who endured horrific conditions to secure this great victory, painting a vivid picture of trench warfare. In his account of this great battle, Pierre Berton brilliantly illuminated the moment of tragedy and greatness that marked Canada's emergence as a nation.
Pierre Berton was one of Canada’s most popular and prolific authors. From narrative histories and popular culture, to picture and coffee table books to anthologies, to stories for children to readable, historical works for youth, many of his fifty books are now Canadian classics. Born in 1920 and raised in the Yukon, Pierre Berton work...
Title:VimyFormat:PaperbackPublished:October 9, 2001Publisher:Doubleday CanadaLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0385658427

ISBN - 13:9780385658423

Look for similar items by category:


Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Amazingly researched, amazingly written. Amazing characters, amazing stories. Will leave you amazed and inspired at the courage and bravery of all those who paid the ultimate price.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Canadian history brought home #plumreview This book really brings home the atrocities of World War I from the perspective of Canadian soldiers. For all the ills of the war, WWI also helped to bond Canada as a true nation.
Date published: 2016-11-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely Amazing This book not only captures the atrocities of the frist world war, but it also manages to catch those flickering sparks of humanity, and even happiness that was found at times amongst the troops. Probably one of Berton's best books, and most definately one of the most facinating book I've read on WWI.
Date published: 2005-11-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Comprehensive yet Comprehensible A good overview of the battle, and its Canadian participants. Its particular strength is the personal accounts and the feel it gives for the sheer horror of the war. Fairly uncomplicated in its structure and thus readable. The story deals with the prelude and the battle itself. It is very much into extolling the virtues of the Canadian fighting machine in comparison with the Brits - UK class division and the Canadian lack of it. Berton suggests that the Brits were unimaginative and hide bound while the Canadians were creative and less susceptible to treating the wholesale slaughter of its own troops with indifference or more correctly as the price of war. Berton believes that Byng (a Brit) was more comfortable with the Canadians than with his own Army. Currie (1st Div Comd) and McNaughton (Corps Counter Battery) are given a great deal of coverage in part I believe because of their role in WW2. Berton emphasizes Canadian studies of past failures and successes and attempts to incorporate ideas from where ever they could get them. Much emphasis was put on location of enemy artillery and new techniques (sound locating etc.). Also much attention was given to rehearsals and split second timings. Each divisions ( 4 divisions) attack is given its own chapter. There is some discussion at the end as to what the battle contributed to in terms of Canadian identity etc. It seems that it was indeed a major emotional contributor and as such provided both style and substance to Canadian nationhood. The book does have some technical errors and is not a particularly good military history - but that was never its purpose. It would be one of several books that should be read if one was to do a study of Vimy.
Date published: 2003-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Highly Recommended As a long time fan of Pierre's work, I can recommend without reverence this great literary piece to anyone with a love for Canada and the young men that endured incredible hardships in the trenches during WW1. Pierre Berton has done a fantastic job on this highly patriotic story of sacrifice and courage which was a great building block in our young nations history.
Date published: 2003-05-12

Table of Contents

Overture: Ten Thousand Thunders

Book One: Marching As To War
Chapter One – Sam Hughes's Army
Chapter Two – A Ribbon of Deadly Stealth

Book Two: The Build-Up
Chapter Three – Marking Time
Chapter Four – The Byng Boys
Chapter Five – The Raiders
Chapter Six – Not What They Expected
Chapter Seven – Things Worth Remembering
Chapter Eight – The Final Days
Chapter Nine – The Final Hours

Book Three: The Battle
Chapter Ten – The 1st Division
Chapter Eleven – The 2nd Division
Chapter Twelve – The 3rd Division
Chapter Thirteen – The 4th Division
Chapter Fourteen – Mopping Up


Appendix One: British Army Formations
Appendix Two: The Canadian Battalions at Vimy
Author's Note
Select Bibliography

Editorial Reviews

"Among the most important and vital accounts of war that we have…it is inexcusable not to read it."
—Timothy Findley

"…Vimy is Berton at his best and that's the best there is."
—Peter C. Newman

"A book to make us proud, to make us week."
—June Callwood