Wednesday, May 25, 2011

New and Noteworthy

McGll-Queen's University Press has made a special e-announcement for James Pritchard's A Bridge of Ships: Canadian Shipbuilding during the Second World War.

The "bridge of ships" was a romantic phrase used to describe overseas troop transport from North America to Europe, originally in the first world war.

Pritchard's book is more infrastructure, less romance. The publisher's blurb states:

Before 1939, Canada's shipbuilding industry had been moribund for nearly two decades - no steel-hulled, ocean-going vessel had been built since 1921. During the Second World War, however, Canada's shipbuilding program became a major part of the nation's industrial effort. Shipyards were expanded and more than a thousand warships and cargo ships were constructed as well as many more thousands of auxiliary vessels, small boats, and other craft. A large ship-repair program also began.

In A Bridge of Ships James Pritchard tells the story of the rapidly changing circumstances and forceful personalities that shaped government shipbuilding policy. He examines the ownership and expansion of the shipyards and the role of ship repairing, as well as recruitment and training of the labour force. He also tells the story of the struggle for steel and the expansion of ancillary industries. Pritchard provides a definitive picture of Canada's wartime ship production, assesses the cost (more than $1.2 billion), and explains why such an enormous effort left such a short-lived legacy.

The story of Canada's shipbuilding industry is as astonishing as that of the nation's wartime navy. The personnel of both expanded more than fifty times, yet the history of wartime shipbuilding remains virtually unknown. With the disappearance of the Canadian shipbuilding industry from both the land and memory, it is time to recall and assess its contribution to Allied victory.
Follow @CmedMoore