Saturday, October 15, 2016

"Canadian Jews, the Military, and World War ll: Double Threat". My new book about the 17,000 Jewish Canadians who defeated the Nazis

The cover /New Jewish Press

Just in time for the 71st anniversary of the end of the Second World War, I am thrilled to announce my new non-fiction book. Double Threat: Canadian Jews, The Military, and World War ll is a journalistic look at the untold stories of the Jewish Canadian men and women who served in uniform during the dark years of the last great war.  At least 10 per cent of the Canadian Jewish population answered the call, whether as volunteers or as conscripts. About 450 didn't come back: some lie buried in graveyards from Normandy to Hong Kong, while others have no known final resting place. 


Double Threat: Canadian Jews, The Military, and World War ll is the untold story of why so many Jewish Canadians served, what life was like for them as Jews in uniform, and how they confronted antisemitism both at home and abroad while fighting to win the war and liberate their brethren from the horrors of Nazi work camps and death camps. 


“He died so Jewry should suffer no more.” 
These words on a Canadian Jewish soldier’s tombstone in Normandy inspired the author to explore the role of Canadian Jews in the war effort. As PM Mackenzie King wrote in 1947, Jewish servicemen faced a “double threat” — they were not only fighting against Fascism but for Jewish survival. At the same time, they encountered widespread antisemitism and the danger of being identified as Jews if captured. Bessner conducted hundreds of interviews and extensive archival research to paint a complex picture of the 17,000 Canadian Jews — about 10 per cent of the Jewish population in wartime Canada — who chose to enlist, including future Cabinet minister Barney Danson, future game-show host Monty Hall, and comedians Wayne and Shuster. Added to this fascinating account are Jews who were among the so-called “Zombies” — Canadians who were drafted, but chose to serve at home — the various perspectives of the Jewish community, and the participation of Canadian Jewish women.

The cover was adapted from a 1943 propaganda poster issued by the Canadian Wartime Information board.

Double Threat is due out November 11, 2017.  
Hard copies are available for consumers to buy at Indigo/Chapters, and also through Amazon, Target, and also as an ebook.  
For booksellers/retailers/librarians who want to order copies, the purchasing information is below.

Ellin Bessner is a journalist and a professor of journalism at Centennial College in Toronto.

320 pages • 6 X 9 with photographs
Paper • $269781988326047
epub • $109781988326054
HISTORY/ Jewish / Canada / Military


General inquiries

New Jewish Press
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malcolm@newjewishpress.ca
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ebessner@gmail.com    
 
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