Boys and Girls in No Man's Land
English-Canadian Children and the First World War
Boys and Girls in No Man's Land examines how the First World War entered the lives and imaginations of Canadian children. Drawing on educational materials, textbooks, adventure tales, plays, and Sunday-school papers, this study explores the role of children in the nation's war effort. Susan R. Fisher also considers how the representation of the war has changed in Canadian children's literature. During the war, the conflict was invariably presented as noble and thrilling, but recent Canadian children's books paint a very different picture. What once was regarded a morally uplifting struggle, rich in lessons of service and sacrifice, is now presented as pointless slaughter. This shift in tone and content reveals profound changes in Canadian attitudes not only towards the First World War but also towards patriotism, duty, and the shaping of the moral citizen.
- Winner, Canada Prize in the Humanities awarded by the CFHSS 2012
‘Many books have been written about Canada and the Great War, but few are as good as this one…Fisher has written a fascinating account of the ways in which children were influenced through education, fiction, and propaganda, to support the war effort. ’- Sherrill Grace
’Fisher’s thoughtful analysis confronts the moral dilemmas posed by Canada’s involvement in the war, includes dissident voices, considers the production and reception of texts, and includes young people’s voices through the letters they wrote to various childern’s magazines. ... A well researched book that will act as a foundation for future scholarship. ’- Kristine Alexander