The Devil's Trick
How Canada Fought the Vietnam War
Forty-five years after the fall of Saigon, John Boyko brings to light the little-known story of Canada's involvement in the American War in Vietnam.
Through the lens of six remarkable people, some well-known, others obscure, bestselling historian John Boyko recounts Canada's often-overlooked involvement in that conflict as peacemaker, combatant, and provider of weapons and sanctuary.
When Brigadier General Sherwood Lett arrived in Vietnam over a decade before American troops, he and the Canadians under his command risked their lives trying to enforce an unstable peace while questioning whether they were merely handmaidens to a new war. As American battleships steamed across the Pacific, Canadian diplomat Blair Seaborn was meeting secretly in Hanoi with North Vietnam's prime minister; if American leaders accepted his roadmap to peace, those ships could be turned around before war began. Claire Culhane worked in a Canadian hospital in Vietnam and then returned home to implore Canadians to stop supporting what she deemed an immoral war. Joe Erickson was among 30,000 young Americans who changed Canada by evading the draft and heading north; Doug Carey was one of the 20,000 Canadians who enlisted with the American forces to serve in Vietnam. Rebecca Trinh fled Saigon with her husband and young daughters, joining the waves of desperate Indochinese refugees, thousands of whom were to forge new lives in Canada.
Through these wide-ranging and fascinating accounts, Boyko exposes what he calls the Devil's wiliest trick: convincing leaders that war is desirable, persuading the public that it is acceptable, and telling combatants that the deeds they carry out and the horrors they experience are normal, or at least necessary. In uncovering Canada's side of the story, Boyko reveals the many secret and forgotten ways that Canada not only fought the war but was forever shaped by its lessons and lies.
About this Author
JOHN BOYKO is the author of seven previous books, including Cold Fire: Kennedy's Northern Front, which was shortlisted for the Dafoe Literary Award for non-fiction, and Blood and Daring: How Canada Fought the American Civil War and Forged a Nation, which was shortlisted for a Governor General's Literary Award for its English-to-French translation, Voisins et ennemis. La guerre de Sécession et l'invention du Canada. Boyko is an op-ed contributor to the Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Ottawa Citizen, Montreal Gazette, Maclean's, and more. He also writes entries for the Canadian Encyclopedia.
He has addressed audiences across Canada and appeared on radio and television discussing his books and various historical and current political issues. The Globe and Mail has called Boyko "a distinguished scholar of Canadian political history" and the Winnipeg Free Press has praised his "encyclopaedic knowledge of Canadian history."
Boyko has earned degrees from Trent, Queen's and McMaster universities, served on and chaired many boards, and been elected to municipal office. He lives in Lakefield, Ontario.
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