The perfect antidote to Vimyism!

The reason the world pays heed to Canada is because we fought like lions in the trenches of World War I, and the beaches of Word War II, and in theatres and conflicts scattered around the globe
–Justin Trudeau, June 10, 2016

McKay and Swift have boldly challenged one of Canada’s most heretofore unassailable historical myths: that Canada became a nation on the battlefield of Vimy Ridge. Their accurate dissection of the actual events of that 1917 battle and their denunciation of the subsequent glorification of the Great War itself are a long overdue rebuttal to the excessively patriotic prose fed to us by the usual Drums & Bugles brigade of historians. A well-written and well-researched commentary.
– Scott Taylor, editor/publisher of Esprit de Corps magazine

With Halloween just around the corner it is the spectre of war glorification that is perhaps most terrifying. This April the centennial of the Battle of Vimy Ridge will be celebrated as a nation-building moment.  Historian Ian McKay and journalist Jamie Swift offer a different take in their new book The Vimy Trap: or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War. We think this book is the great antidote to Vimyism.  We also are featuring other great peace/war titles from the BTL catalogue this month. 

World's easiest free book contest! Win a copy of The Vimy Trap! To enter, email by November 7th with the subject line "October newsletter contest" and give us the name of either author of the book. We will draw a winner from the correct responses (Canadian mailing addresses only please). 

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Just released!

The Vimy Trap!
or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War

By Ian McKay and Jamie Swift. 

The story of the bloody 1917 Battle of Vimy Ridge is, according to many of today’s tellings, a heroic founding moment for Canada. This noble, birth-of-a-nation narrative is regularly applied to the Great War in general. Yet this mythical tale is rather new. “Vimyism”— today’s official story of glorious, martial patriotism—contrasts sharply with the complex ways in which veterans, artists, clerics, and even politicians who had supported the war interpreted its meaning over the decades.

Was the Great War a futile imperial debacle? A proud, nation-building milestone? Contending Great War memories have helped to shape how later wars were imagined. The Vimy Trap provides a powerful probe of commemoration cultures. This subtle, fast-paced work of public history—combining scholarly insight with sharp-eyed journalism, and based on primary sources and school textbooks, battlefield visits and war art—explains both how and why peace and war remain contested terrain in ever-changing landscapes of Canadian memory.

Order it today!

Key peace book!


Disarming Conflict
Why Peace Cannot Be Won on the Battlefield

By Ernie Regehr

"Disarming Conflict provides one of the most succinct and persuasive cases for the mitigation and drawing down of modern warfare, not just for its brutality and destructiveness, but for its inability to fulfill its own deluded purpose." – Literary Review of Canada

Wars fought over the past quarter century have been a spectacular failure. The overwhelming majority end in military stalemate and are settled at the negotiating table, with the grievances that led to the war still unresolved. In Disarming Conflict famed peace activist Ernie Regehr shows that force cannot simply override or transcend the social, political, and economic realities of conflict.

Get it today from BTL! 

Provoking collection!


Worth Fighting For
Canada's Tradition of War Resistance from 1812 to the War on Terror

Edited by Lara Campbell, Michael Dawson, and Catherine Gidney

"Whether you are a lifelong peace activist or an enthusiast for a robust and muscular Canadian military, Worth Fighting For is worth your time."
- Vancouver Sun

Historians, veterans, museums, and public education campaigns have all documented and commemorated the experience of Canadians in times of war. But Canada also has a long, rich, and important historical tradition of resistance to both war and militarization. This collection brings together the work of sixteen scholars on the history of war resistance. Together they explore resistance to specific wars (including the South African War, the First and Second World Wars, and Vietnam), the ideology and nature of resistance (national, ethical, political, spiritual), and organized activism against militarization (such as cadet training, the Cold War, and nuclear arms).

Get it today from BTL! 

Special epub

World Tribunal on Iraq
Making the Case Against the War

Edited by Müge Gürsoy Sökmen.  Introduction by Arundhati Roy and Richard Falk  

The World Tribunal on Iraq (WTI) was a collective effort involving hundreds of people from all over the world, most of them never having met in person. Inspired by the Bertrand Russell Tribunal of the Vietnam War era, WTI aimed to record not only the crimes against the Iraqi people, but also crimes committed against humanity. With contributions from over fifty internationally renowned experts, World Tribunal on Iraq examines every aspect of the war, from its legality, to the history of US and British military interventions in Iraq, to the role of international institutions and corporations in the occupation, to the use of torture, and to strategies of resistance.

Get it today from BTL! 

BTL Events

Join Ian McKay and Jamie Swift for the Toronto launch of The Vimy Trap: Or, How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Great War, November 9th at the Studio Bar, Toronto, 6:30-8:30pm (details here).

 Jamie Swift will be speaking on The Vimy Trap  November 18 in the Sydney Credit Union Room (CE265) at Cape Breton University from 12:00-1:00 p.m (details here); on November 21 at the Central Public Library in Halifax at 7:00pm (details here); and November 28th at the Tett Centre in Kingston, Ontario (details here). 

Ester Reiter, author of A Future Without Hate or Need will be speaking November 20th at the Asper Jewish Community Campus, Winnipeg 2:00pm-3pm. Details here

Karen Dubinsky continues her tour for Cuba Beyond the Beach: Stories of Life in Havana  November 3 at the Toronto Reference Library from 7:00pm-8:30pm. Details here. On November 24th Karen will be speaking and signing at McNally Robinson bookstore in Winnipeg from 7:30-9:00pm. Details here


People are talking

Great review of Drawn to Change in subTerrain magazine! "With such vivid imagery, humanized struggles, and honest portrayals, 'Drawn To Change' is an excellent tool to reach a wide range of readers, especially youth. Although some pieces are more fulfilling than others, every part of the collection is poignant and insightful in its own way." -- Monica Miller

Scott Neigh went beyond the page and made a video review of Drawn to Change and Showdown! by Rob Kristofferson and Simon Orpana. check it out!


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We acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, which last year invested $153 million to bring the arts to Canadians throughout the country.

Nous remercions le Conseil des arts du Canada de son soutien. L’an dernier, le Conseil  a investi 153 millions de dollars pour mettre de l’art dans la vie des Canadiennes et des Canadiens de tout le pays.

We acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the National Translation Program for Book Publishing, an initiative of the Roadmap for Canada's Official Languages 2013-2018: Education, Immigration, Communities, for our translation activities.

We gratefully acknowledge assistance for our publishing activities from  the Ontario Arts Council, the Government of Ontario through the Ontario Book Publishers Tax Credit program and through the Ontario Book Initiative, and the Government of Canada through the Canada Book Fund.

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