A Blue Puttee at War: The Memoir of Captain Sydney Frost
By: Sydney Frost , Edward Roberts
Dads and pops alike are going to be all over this memoire. What’s there not to dig? History, Newfoundland, a personal story about a soldier’s involvement with the Regiment during WWI.
This is classic middle-age man stuff. In fact, any historical reader would be interested in Frost’s account and direct detailing of his own experience.
Frost was from Nova Scotia and worked in St. John’s and when the war started, he signed up with the Newfoundland Regiment. He was one of the first 500 volunteers accepted, also known as the Blue Puttees.
Frost was one of the few that lasted the entire length of the war. He noted himself that by Christmas of 1917 there were fewer than thirty of the original Blue Puttees left in active service.
Frost was a part of many memorable and noteworthy marches throughout the war and was awarded the Military Cross for heroism. After the war, frost returned to his position at the bank of Nova Scotia and eventually became President and CEO.
There have been many stories about WWI but nothing is this honest or realistic as the true tale that Frost describes. It’s hard to get inside a soldier’s head and try to imagine what they went through, during their lives and their battles but Frost gives us that possibility. Eric Roberts was asked to edit the memoire and his influence does not take away from any of the frank and authentic perspective of Frost.
Any Mummers ‘Lowed in? Christmas Mummering traditions in Newfoundland and Labrador
By Dale Jarvis
With the mummering festival at our heels, the province has been reminded of the Christmas traditions we hold so close. Can we ever experience a genuine mummer appearance in our living rooms ever again?
Maybe outport communities will always have a visit or two from masked men that they cannot identify but we are holding onto the tradition as much as possible and we will never let it go.
In Jarvis’ account of the history of mummering, it is evident why the tradition is not as easily accessible as it had once been. Some were involved in violence and even murder.
Mummers today are a jolly bunch of jannies that just want a good time, a hard laugh and a spot of liquor. They dance and sing and then move on to the next house but this book shows the ins and outs of mummers and all they have been through and how they have become the face of Newfoundland over the last few years.
Partnered with many pictures and a lot of research, Jarvis truly makes this story interesting and well-balance.
By Wayne Johnston
Although, published in 2013, Johnston’s latest masterpiece needs another head nod as the years go by. If a family member of yours has not read Johnston yet, you may want to back track and start them from the beginning. The guy has never written anything short of amazing.
This novel has a whole new level of writing. Of course, Johnston has always been a f—ing awesome novelist with different ideas and cool plot twists that evaluate the meaning of humanity and explore the dark harsh truths of our existence, with realistic and unnatural storylines BUT this novel knocks it out of the parks.
The story of Percy Joyce, son of Penelope Joyce and both of their unfortunate, yet direct and truthful everyday experiences, as well as their relationship and the connections they have are all explored throughout the novel.
This book would hold a special place in the hearts of Newfoundland and Labradorians, because let’s be honest, we are quite a proud folk but it would truly be a great read for anyone- no matter where their bloodline lies.
Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead
By Michael Winter
Winter retraces footsteps through the regiment and details a personal journey through war. Although, it may appear to be a historical novel, the book is littered with great details and research but it is more interesting and less-factual than expected. Winter manages to fill the reader’s mind with great facts and interesting personal situations experienced during a specific time in history, but one almost doesn’t even notice until they have completed the book that they have gained an extensive amount of knowledge.
Winter travels along the valleys and peaks of war torn land as the people had during the war. He creates a consistency and relationship of similarity with himself and the past. Although, the surroundings change, the experience remains the same.
Sometimes forced, but easily forgotten as you read along, the cohesive experiences and parallel travels allows Winter to relate to the soldiers of the past as much as possible.
It is somewhat focused on Newfoundland and Labrador, but mainly human experience and human connection, which can be applied to anyone and is relatable to any Canadian.
Winters never disappoints and this novel truly embraces his versatility and talent.
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