Guardian of the Gulf: Sydney, Cape Breton, and the Atlantic Wars
By Brian Tennyson, Roger Sarty University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2002 World Rights 534 Pages Paper ISBN 9780802085450 Published May 2002 $36.95
This book covers the military history of Cape Breton from the 17th Century until today. Traditionally the island was home of two strategic assets: the Canso waterway and the coal mines of the northeast.
Through times of international tensions through the years, the island's military facilities varied from a personnel and defensive equipment perspective. Often both of these duties fell on the coal miners and later the adjancent steel millworkers.
From Conferation, Canada has been averse to spending on money on defense justifying it as the nation was either protected by the US Monroe Doctrine, Imperial allegiance to Britain or the 1990s "Peacekeeping Nation." These were all methods employed by national government to mask the distaste for military spending.
The growth of the RCN, RCAF and Coast Artillery on the island in the Second World War is documented to an extensive degree. Some excellent photos were used (but left me wanting more of them) with one of my favorites being the marine railway in Sydney, one of the outcomes from the disgraceful corvette refit crisis brought on by the ineptitude of the Chief of Naval Staff in Ottawa, Percy Nelles.
The authors have done a good job the most part; however my biggest disappointment was the scant amount of information of the Point Edward Naval Base, a facility which has been all but ignored by historians to date.