Monday, 13 October 2014

Julie H. Ferguson Takes On Canadian Submarine History

I decided to place the reviews for Through a Canadian Periscope & Deeply Canadian: New Submarines for a New Millennium
by Julie H. Ferguson on the same page as the reader of either of these books will definitly want to acquire the other one.

Through A Canadian Periscope

Through a Canadian Periscope, by Julie H. Ferguson manages to accomplish what I thought was the impossible. Attempting to document the history of Canada’s submarine service from its early 1914 beginnings to the present time within the confines of a single volume, in my mind, would have resulted in a hodgepodge of information that would prove useless to anyone with more than a passing interest in submarines. I can happily report that I was completely wrong.

Not only does the author manage to give us a detailed history of every boat from CC-1 to the current Victoria class, but she also includes a generous helping of anecdotes throughout the book’s pages. Ferguson has clearly spent many, many long hours researching this work and, I suspect, shared more than a few mugs of beer while listening to the submariners whose stories are intertwined within its pages. From history to sea stories – this book has it all.

Admittedly, I often saw ads for Through a Canadian Periscope on-line, and kept thinking that I really should order this book someday, but I kept procrastinating. I don’t know why, but that did work out in my favour as now I have the recently released Second Edition which brings us up to date with the goings on of the Victoria class boats. This edition’s timing is perfect as it appears that all four of Canada’s submarines will soon be ready for active service, in spite of what the nay-sayers (most of whom have no idea what they’re talking about) have been preaching for years.

If you enjoy naval history, you will want to read this book. If you are a submariner or just someone fascinated by the ‘secret service’ you need to read this book. Then, you will want to consider Ferguson’s next book, Deeply Canadian: New Submarines for a New Millennium, to learn even more about the Victoria class SSK’s and why Canada must ensure that it always possesses a viable submarine capability.

Through a Canadian Periscope, by Julie H. Ferguson is available through by clicking here.

Deeply Canadian: New Submarines for a New Millennium

Deeply Canadian: New Submarines for a New Millennium, by Julie H. Ferguson is the perfect companion to her earlier book, Through a Canadian Periscope. Where Periscope looks at the history of submarines within the Canadian Navy,

Deeply Canadian explains the needs and benefits of an active submarine force. Ferguson goes beyond the basic military requirement for submarines, and delves into the economic and sovereignty benefits of being a member of this exclusive club; information that in fact applies to any nation. I would not be surprised to find this work as part of an economics course reading list.

Part of the economics study here is the financial costs and debate of nuclear versus SSK boats, and although she does not go into great technical detail, the author does make a sound argument for SSK’s, especially for a country without the mega-funds necessary to operate a fleet of nuclear boats. For Canada, the choice is obvious and after reading Deeply Canadian,

I have no doubt that even the most obsessed anti-defence advocate would find themselves agreeing with the cost effectiveness of a conventional submarine component for the Royal Canadian Navy. One line from the book really strikes home; “The public image of the navy is still based on the Battle of the Atlantic in WW-II because it was the RCN’s Vimy.” As Ferguson explains, that is sadly out of date in today’s reality. She notes that one thing the public does hear fat too often are the military nay-sayers who seem bent on reducing Canada’s Armed Forces to slightly more than a police force.

Deeply Canadian: New Submarines for a New Millennium will leave you informed and intrigued as to where Canada’s submarine force is today and where it should be heading tomorrow. The incredible amount of research alone that Ferguson has done makes this a must read for any military historian or economics student.

Deeply Canadian: New submarines for a New Millennium is available through by clicking here.

Copyright © 2014 Daniel L Little