Through Their Eyes
A Graphic History of Hill 70 and Canada's First World War
Imagining the experiences of Canadian soldiers during the First World War through graphic artwork and illustration.
By the summer of 1917, Canadian troops had captured Vimy Ridge, but Allied offensives had stalled across many fronts of the Great War. To help break the stalemate of trench warfare, the Canadian Corps commander, Lieutenant-General Arthur Currie, was tasked with capturing Hill 70, a German stronghold near the French town of Lens.
After securing the hill on 15 August, Canadian soldiers endured days of shelling, machine-gun fire, and poison gas as they repelled relentless enemy counterattacks. Through Their Eyes depicts this remarkable but costly victory in a unique way. With full-colour graphic artwork and detailed illustration, Matthew Barrett and Robert Engen picture the battle from different perspectives – Currie’s strategic view at high command, a junior officer’s experience at the platoon level, and the vantage points of many lesser-known Canadian soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice. This innovative graphic history invites readers to reimagine the First World War through the eyes of those who lived it and to think more deeply about how we visualize and remember the past.
Combining outstanding original art and thought-provoking commentary, Through Their Eyes uncovers the fascinating stories behind this battle while creatively expanding the ways that history is shared and represented.
“A powerful and moving book. This is Canada’s First World War as we have never seen it before.” Colonel Chris Hadfield, astronaut and four-time best-selling author
“Creative and innovative, Through Their Eyes offers a new way to commemorate and connect to the history of the First World War.” Sean Carleton, University of Manitoba and the Graphic History Collective
“This innovative graphic history provides a new way of understanding the complexity and carnage of the First World War. Employing vivid graphics and authoritative history, Matthew Barrett and Robert C. Engen offer multiple and diverse perspectives to reclaim the Battle of Hill 70 for a new generation.” Tim Cook, author of Vimy: The Battle and the Legend
“Through Their Eyes presents a vivid depiction, both literally and figuratively, of the horrors of war. The authors view Hill 70 from the perspective of individuals at very different levels of status and responsibility, from the general to the frontline infantryman, interpreting scant evidence and imaginatively filling in the gaps.” Gary Sheffield, University of Wolverhampton
“A multifaceted and nuanced look at a complex battle in an incredibly complex war. It will have you looking at photos and paintings of The Great War in a new light, considering both what was shown and what was left out.” Winnipeg Free Press
“Through their Eyes provides inspiration for historians who wish to be both thorough researchers and gripping storytellers. It is the ‘permanent evolution’ history writing deserves.” Prairie History