Page 65

Library and Archives Canada, Raymond Gibson Collection, 1977-157, C-91766

B OO KS |D E L I G HT S

Soldiers in 259th battalion, led by Brig.-Gen. Bickford, second-in-command of the Siberian force, disembarking at Egersheld, Vladivostok, in 1919.

In the Crimea (where his first-hand reportage caused an unknown Florence Nightingale to take up battlefield nursing), Russell didn’t shy from reporting the true horrors that he saw. He assumed the same tone in America. He preferred a tent full of common soldiers to a seconded front parlour full of generals. As one colleague commented, “He is a good chap to get information, particularly from the youngsters.” So naturally his employer, The Times of London, sent him to America when war broke out there. The newspaper later recalled him, however, on the grounds that he was too sympathetic to the South, or at least not sympathetic enough to the North. Curiously, the same paper had no qualms about Francis Lawley, its reporter who followed the Southern armies and was outrageously blind to their every flaw and misstep. As a reader, I’m delighted to find that Dr. Foreman discusses Edward Dicey, who promoted the Northern armies for the Spectator and wrote what is still an endearing pro-Union memoir, Six Months in the Federal States. It is not to be confused with, but simply diplomat and international canada

contrasted to, Three Months in the Southern States (April, May and June 1863) by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur J.F. Fremantle of the Coldstream Guards. He took leave from the service to travel in all 11 Confederate states, using letters of introduction from one official or another (even Jefferson Davis) to gain an audience with the next general on his list. Studying the Confederate army through the eyes of a professional soldier left him with solid collegial respect for his hosts. His handsomely written book is still in print as a 1991 paperback edition (University of Nebraska Press, US$18.95). Dr. Foreman uses this one, too, to good effect. To state the matter as simply as possible, then, the most important diplomatic question of the American Civil War was whether to take sides in a divorce (in war as in real life, always a risky proposition). A similar situation, one involving Canada and its numerous allies arose near the end of the First World War and continued on for a time afterwards. In 1917, the year of both the February and October revolutions, Russia deposed the czar (who was

executed the following year) and ran through two prime ministers. The country was a shambles of starvation and unrest. 63

Profile for Diplomatonline.com Diplomatonline.com

Diplomat Winter 2012  

Diplomat & International Canada magazine is a leading source for international affairs and Canadian foreign policy. Diplomat is the magazine...

Diplomat Winter 2012  

Diplomat & International Canada magazine is a leading source for international affairs and Canadian foreign policy. Diplomat is the magazine...

Advertisement