At the Sharp End by Tim Cook

At the Sharp End

At the Sharp End covers the harrowing early battles of World War One, when tens of thousands, then hundreds of thousands, died, before the generals and soldiers found ways to break the terrible stalemate of the front. It provides both an intimate look at the Canadian men in the trenches and an authoritative account of the slow evolution in tactics, weapons, and advancement. Featuring never-before-published photographs, letters, diaries, and maps,...

Details At the Sharp End

TitleAt the Sharp End
Release DateOct 9th, 2007
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Cultural, Canada, Military, Military History, War, World War I, Military Fiction

Reviews At the Sharp End

  • KB
    To be honest, I was worried about starting this book. I knew if I didn't like it, I had 500+ pages to go through and the even longer second volume waiting for me after that. So I was very surprised about how readable this was. It's not something I'd consider too quick of a read, but at the same time it isn't dense and it doesn't feel like you're being bombarded with information.This volume covers basically everything related to Canadian troops on...
  • Jenn C
    No matter what Cook tries to apologize for, I still believe that Haig was a bombastic, grunting idiot, who was willing to trade thousands of men's lives for a few feet of blood-soaked, mud-splattered wasteland. Considering the attitudes of the time, I don't know if any other general would have found a different solution, but the Somme was a gigantic and unnecessary waste of men - especially after it became apparently the "big push" and the German...
  • David
    The first of Tim Cook's two-volume history of the Canadian Corps in World War I is superb. Unlike many somewhat dry accounts of WWI and WWII, what makes this work such a pleasure to read are the many first-hand accounts of the courage, sacrifice, and suffering of Canadian soldiers "at the sharp end" of combat during the war - many of whom did not live to return home. The author is the curator of the First World War gallery at the Canadian War Mus...
  • Tim
    If you are at all interested in WW1 and the role Canada played in it, this will provide you with the history of how they came together as a fighting force and what they had to endure just to take and hold small portions of the battlefields. Volume 2 awaits.
  • Bernie Charbonneau
    Outstanding! Received this non-fiction history of Canadians in the Great War and could not put it down. Very compelling and in depth of Canadas involvement within the BEF offensive. This is volume 1 in a two volume set of books that cover the CEF from its training days to establishing itself as a very respectable fighting unit. The research is deep without being boring with enough emotional moments to make one wonder how anyone could even contemp...
  • Ietrio
    A probably white and probably overweight man describing the war like it was yesterday. Only it wasn't yesterday, and he never participated. In exchange, he has the nerve wrecking experience of an air conditioned office and a decent pay at the end of each month. A guy who is ready to tell it all. It "addresses both success and failure among the Canadian forces". Success at over 61 thousands dead? An expensive enterprise, even for a rich country li...
  • Matt
    As Cook makes clear in his introduction, it is not an exhaustive look at Canada during the war. It solely focuses on the Canadian Corps, the army faction that fought; there is nothing about the air corps, navy, home front, and aside from brief mentions of Sam Hughes (minister of militia until 1916), no political details. As the title states, it starts from the Canadian entry into the war alongside the UK in 1914, and ends with the conclusion of t...
  • Marc Leroux
    This is a must read for anyone interested in the Canadian involvement in the first world war. It explores the period of 1914, when Canada mobilized for war, through the years 1915 and 1916, when the Canadian troops were organized under British commanders, and went through some of the most intense battles, using out of date, and frankly insane, tactics. Being told to advance through machine gun fire while working past barbed wire obstructions resu...
  • Terry
    This is an exhaustive yet engage book covering the history of the Canadians in World War 1. This is the first of 2 two volumes. This first volumes cover the first two years of the war. All though there is a lot of information presented in this book, not once did I felt over overwhelmed reading it. In fact I felt the narrative was very engaging and entertaining. The quotes and snippets from the personal letters and journals of the solider in the t...
  • Simon
    This book made compelling reading as a flowing narrative and source of personal accounts. As one who had often overlooked the Canadian contribution to WW 1 this has been a real eyeopener to the extent and influence the Canadian Corp had in the battles in which they had participated. Also reveals how Canadian nationalism was forged in a storm of blood and iron leading to Canada moving from colony to nation. Really should be mandatory reading for a...
  • Rick
    Outstanding book! The definitive account of Canadian troops in WWI. This is volume one of a two volume set. More than just a blow by low account of Canadian battles. There are elements of social history here, as the author successfully explores the perspective of the front line soldiers. He also renders understandable the evolution of battle techniques through enlightening, and not well-known details (eg. artillery fuses). This is also a beautifu...
  • Karen
    This was a really good book. It was very informative and (despite the subject matter) very enjoyable to read. The author fills the narrative with anecdotes and quotes from soldiers who served during the war. Other books on the war that I've read were really dry (very few soldier quotes, more facts and figures than anecdotal info, etc.), but this one certainly wasn't! Overall, a good read for history buffs and those interested in the military.
  • Calvin
    This is book one of two book series of Canadian in World War One from 1914-1916. I'm a history buff and a war buff so these books were something I really enjoyed reading. Tim Cook is the curator of the World War One Museum in Ottawa so he a great depth of knowledge on this subject and he shows it with details in put forward. The historical data is great, but also he wrote this to read like a novel, which made the historical aspect of the book so ...
  • John
    The story of the Canadians fight in WWI from 1924 - 1916. Covers the raising of the initial Canadian contingent that went to become the Canadian 1st Division, as well as the subsequent formation of the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Divisions. A very good mix of operational history with the soldiers view in the mud of the trenchs of Ypres, St. Eloi, Mount Sorrel and the Somme. I'm looking forward to Shock Troops, Tim Cook's follow on to complete the history of...
  • Caer Glas
    Excellent work by Cook, the first of two volumes. Probably the best general work on the Canadian Corps since Desmond Morton's 'When Your Number's Up'. That said, it does cover a fair bit of ground that is familiar to anyone that has read extensively on WWI and the CEF. Still, he manages to make it readable and the excellent scholarship is evident throughout.
  • Greg
    This is by far one of the best Canadian history books I have ever read. Tim Cook's writing is easy to read and gripping. The research on this book is exceptional and allows the reader to at least have some type of image of the horror of life at the front. For any fan of Canadian history this is a must read.
  • Don Thompson
    This book covers the Canadian fighting between 1914 - 16 The book covers the Canadian Corps and the back ground fight to keep Canadian together instead of being used as replacements in British units. Covered in our battles at Ypees, Vimy Ridge, Sorrel and Ancre. We get a clear view of the men in the Corps. Where they came from. What they thought and the conditions they fought in.
  • Jordan
    5 stars. I don't read much, only on the first world war but I thought it was easy to read and full of first hand accounts, clear history, maps and made the story of the Canadians during WW1 clear and easy to follow and understand. Thanks Tim Cook.
  • Brian Glasspoole
    Difficult to read but an important chapter in Canadian history. Tim Cook is an amazing writer - blending facts with personal accounts from many soldiers as written at the time of battle. I am looking forward to reading the sequel - Shock Troops.
  • Shannon Cole
    A great Canadian perspective. He is able to cover a ton of events and information and maintain a novel feel to the book
  • Cameron
    This should be required reading for all Canadians. I think this is the only book I have ever read that left be absolutely speechless.
  • Steve Davis
    Absolutely the best book about Canadians in WW I. Emphasis on soldiers not generals. Invaluable.
  • Matthew Barlow
    Superb text. Cook is clearly an expert.
  • James Dekens
    Amazingly depressing.
  • John
    High marks for the excellent work by Tim Cook, though not the subject matter. For decades I have read war histories, mostly WW2 and Vietnam, but avoided WW1. This history shows why: it was a grueling meat-grinder of bad tactics and strategy on both sides, and a time when industrial capability to kill on a mammoth scale got ahead of old generals' thinking on how to conduct battles. Hundreds of thousands of lives erased for little or no territorial...