The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on September 29, 1984 · 55
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The Ottawa Citizen from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada · 55

Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Issue Date:
Saturday, September 29, 1984
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The Citizen, Ottawa, Saturday, September 29, 1984, Page C15 Hoods Voices of the airmen iflUI if ; v Laughter Silvered Wings, by - J. Douglas Harvey; McClelland and Stewart; 256 pages; $19.95 By Elizabeth Wright In the slip-stream of J. Douglas Harvey's highly successful The Tumbling Mirth comes this book. He hadn't intended to write it, but the spirit he celebrated in The Tumbling Mirth prompted feelings and evoked memories from more than 100 other veterans. The 16 chapters are in chronological order not always easy, since, for example "The RCAF's monumental task of photographing all of Canada from the air. . . began almost as soon as the air force was formed in 1924." By 1948, squadrons 408, 413 and 414, operating out of Rockcliffe, headed north each spring. "The photo squadrons were in essence . . . challenging existing geography," and found some strange errors. "The Canso crews also did the job of installing crews in some of the most godawful spots in Canada . . . usually some forlorn peak in the Yukon . . . cargo carried up these steep mountains on their backs." Much space, naturally, is given to the war years, training, getting "the boys" and girls also, into the air, "Over the Pond" into combat and essential ground services. Some vets re-visiting old scenes wonder Did it all really happen? It did: and for each a set of memories: In December '42, two fishermen crouched in their boat when a low flying aircraft hit the water half a mile away. German? Allied? In minutes the tiny sprat boat was alongside a fast sinking Wellington with five Canadians aboard, three badly wounded. "The rescue was . . .just one of hundreds . . .but the Wellington was a decoy which had just accomplished its mission for scientists working to unravel the Luftwaffe night-defence system." PO Barry went back in '83. "Just being there again and seeing everything . . .made it all worth while." Harvey has done a fine job of editing and making the material hang together. Individuals with many viewpoints speak as the voice of the RCAF, once the world's best small air force. Harvey, who scorns the unification "charade," says, "The book has been written to show the spirit that encompassed all aspects of the RCAF ... the one thing that made that magnificent service supreme ... for those who have difficulty defining spirit, the yarns and anecdotes in this book will help." They range widely, even including poetry, and throughout there is much humor, sometimes mixed with grimmest reality. It's an adventure book for and about Canada and Canadians and recalls earlier values and traditions that might help us navigate better courses in the materialistic, confused, dispirited world of the '80s. Elizabeth Wright is an Ottawa writer Two histories recall air-training programs Aerodrome of Democracy: Canada and the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan 1939-1945, by F.J. Hatch; Supply and Services Canada, Ottawa, Ontario, K1A 0S8; illustrated; 223 pages with appendices and index; $1 1 The Plan: Memories of the British Commonwealth Air Training Plan, by James N. Williams; Canada's Wings, Box . 393, Stittsville, Ontario, KOA . 3G0; illustrated; 222 pages with index; $25.95 418 City of Edmonton Squadron History, by Arnold P. Vau-ghan; The Hangar Bookshelf, Box 1513, Belleville, Ontario, K8N 5J2; illustrated; 116 pages; $21.95 By Hugh Halliday The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan was one of Canada's most significant contributions use in the Second World War. It churned out 131,553 aircrew graduates (55 per cent for the RCAF, 45 per cent for other air forces) and helped Mackenzie King negotiate the semblance of a distinct Canadian role in the lair war designated RCAF squadrons overseas, largely manned by Canadians, and RCAF personnel paid and promoted by Canadian policies, even when in British units. ; Hatch and Williams complement each other. Hatch, a professional military historian for nearly 30 years, is the acknowledged expert on the BCATP. Aerodrome of Democracy seriously studies the program, from financial problems to instructors restless to get overseas. It is scholarly without being pedantic; anecdotes, even poetry, illustrate the moods of senior officers and trainees. The Plan takes a different approach; it follows Barry Broad-foot's pattern of oral history. Narrative is incidental to personal experiences recalled 40 years later. Time may have altered some memories and distorted a few facts, but Williams's book does not pretend to be a formal account. It will remind many veterans and inform numerous younger folk of wartime attitudes and experiences. Some views from the period are embarrassing to current generations, but they were widely and sincerely held at the time. Neither book dwells on heroics. Hatch mentions that 856 trainees were killed during BCATP operations, but he does not elaborate. Numerous awards, including two George Crosses, were made for heroic rescues and disciplined forced landings; other decorations went to outstanding instructors. Both volumes fail to touch such matters. Vaughan's book is the latest in a welcome series from Hangar Bookshelf; earlier titles have covered Nos. 417, 421 and 440 squadrons (all fighter-bomber outfits); more are to come. These RCAF unit histories, each about 35,000 words, carry a profusion of photographs. They describe combat exploits and postwar services, straddling personal memoirs and strategic studies. Hugh Halliday is curator ol war art at the Canadian War Museum and the author ot three books on Canadian military aviation Book pays tribute to gifted advocate Robinette; The Dean of Canadian Lawyers, by Jack Batten; Macmillan; 256 pages including photographs; $19.95 By Tony Cote J. J. Robinette is, without question, the most gifted courtroom advocate Canada has produced. Born John Josiah Robinette in 1906, he was called to the bar a mere 23 years later and has since left an achievement that will probably never be surpassed. More than 150 times he has appeared before the Supreme Court of Canada, arguing everything from murder appeals to complex constitutional issues. Perhaps Robinette's most celebrated client was Eveyln Dick in 1947, a young, sexy Hamilton woman accused of dismembering her husband and killing her child. In a trial that made headlines around the world Robinette won acquittal for Dick on the first charge but lost on the second. It was the first of his many murder trials, which ran the gamut from cop killers (the only time he lost a client to the gallows) to a doctor charged with manslaughter in the death of a woman after an allegedly illegal abortion (the doctor got off). Robinette also defended Toronto Maple Leaf owner Harold Ballard on charges of defrauding Maple Leaf Gardens of more than $200,000. Ballard was convicted and sentenced to three years in prison. Criminal trials are spectacular, but Robinette's accomplishments in civil and constitutional law most attest to his greatness. Appearing for the Crown or government as often against them, Robinette has argued dozens of cases that have changed our lives not always to everyone's liking. In 1976, 223 Renfrew County teachers won a pay raise of 34 per cent 11 per cent more than was allowed by Trudeau's infamous anti-inflation board. The legality of the legislation, and the fate of the teachers' raise, ended up on Wellington Street in the Supreme Court of Canada. The issue was whether the government usurped the powers of the provinces with this legislation. Five days of argument from 26 lawyers ended with a victory for the federal government and three years of wage and price controls for the country. Participants generally agree that Robinette's 4 - , 1 . it! ' 0fj 1;. J I If iti 1 5. i r . Ottawa's old Carnegie Library: a grant of $100,000 A richness of libraries The Best Gift, by Margaret Beckman, Stephen Langmead and John Black; Dundurn Press; 192 pages; $29195 By Claude Aubry Beautifully presented, The Best Gift records the creation and development of the Carnegie Public Libraries in Ontario and thus is an overall and brief history of the province's public-library development. But free access to libraries in Ontario, in some other parts of Canada and in the U.S. predates the Andrew Carnegie grants, which began with intricate and strict mechanisms in 1900. Libraries were born in Canada in 1882 with Ontario's "Free Libraries Act," which by 1900 had given Ontario 118 free public libraries and 253 public but not free libraries. Creating free public libraries was Andrew Carnegie's greatest passion. Carnegie grants made possible the founding of 111 Carnegie libraries in Ontario (125 in all of Canada). The Carnegie grants were given only for the construction of library buildings and not for any other expenses, which were paid by local and pro-vincal governments, with help from other financial resources. Ottawa was one of the few municipalities that received two grants from Carnegie: one of $100,000 in 1906 for the construction of its Main Library called for many years "The Carnegie Library" and a second one of $15,000 or the construction of its first branch (West Branch) in 1917. Ottawa's Main Library was one of the few Carnegie Libraries officially opened by Andrew Carnegie himself (in 1906). This well-documented book is enhanced by striking and very clear photos and colored sketches of the Carnegie Library buildings in Ontario. It contains also details of old furniture, fixtures and floor plans. It shows the great variety of the Carnegie buildings with some of them as impressive monuments. However, the photos show also a serious drawback common to almost all of them: main entrance stairways. This work provides also a comprehensive list of the architects involved, a list of Carnegie Library grants in Ontario by date, an index of places and names, documentary notes and a selected bibliography. The Best Gift is a delightful and unique testimony to a most important Ontario cultural heritage, appropriately published in the province's bicentennial year. Claude Aubry ol Ottawa was director ol the Ottawa Public Library from 1953 to 1979 Canadian film reference book bypasses actors The Film Companion, by Peter Morris; Irwin ' Publishing; 335 pages; paperback $16.95 Take Two, by Seth Feldman, Irwin Publishing; 310 pages; paperback $14.95 By Noel Taylor '. These are heady days for the Canadian cine-ftia, courtesy of the inspiration of the Toronto Festival of Festivals, which bestowed half its attention this year to a Canadian retrospective. Now there are prospects of its Ten Best Canadian Films, chosen by filmmakers and ci-j-itcs, being taken on a world tour. Another festival offshoot is the publication of these two paperback volumes, neither particularly definitive in Its way, but each a worthwhile contribution to "the shadowy half-life in the national consciousness" (critic Marshall Delaney's phrase) that is the Canadian cinema. ; In the case of The Film Companion, which 'might reasonably raise expectations of being a ;useful reference book, the deficiencies are more apparent. ". Peter Morris readily admits to major omissions such as, for Instance, the inclusion of .not a single actor or actress. Filmmakers, es-'peclally directors, are decently summarized, but they have to have a body of work behind them to win a place. "The absence of particular names or titles may represent less of a lack of talent on their part than a lack of critical acumen on mine." Gracefully put, but what sort of film companion turns its back so blithely on performers? There are more than 300 Canadian producers, directors, writers, cameramen, etc., included and about 300 films (each with credits, synopsis and a brief critique). Morris is associate professor of film studies at Queen's University and is particular about acknowledging his references, which are sometimes almost half the entry. Seth Feldman's "tribute to film in Canada" is a selection of 27 articles by critics, scholars and filmmakers. The view throughout is from English Canada, though one of its five sections is devoted to the cinema of Quebec. The Quebec focus is of necessity fairly narrow but it's good to see proper attention paid to the work of Jean Pierre Lefebvre and Gilles Carle. Other areas covered are the National Film Board, Canada's avant-garde cinema (which hardly ever gets any attention paid it), the f English scene (from Paul Almond to David Cronenberg and on to the TV docudrama), and 'The Big Picture,' a look at some major movies and an outlook on future prcspects. As for Feldman (a cinema academic at York University), he sees hope in this post-tax shelter era for a Canadian industry "which has learned from it struggles and (which) may finally free itself from the shuffle between centre stage and oblivion." Noel Taylor is The Citizen's movie critic HARDCOVER FICTION .95 to 1.95 OVER 2000 TITLES IN STOCK U m . , A - $ Left, J.J. Robinette: murder appeals to the constitution arguments of "peace, order and good government" (covered under the BNA Act) and the national emergency of spiralling inflation won the day for the government side. Equally intriguing is that several of Canada's more prominent jurists, including a Supreme Court of Canada justice or two, were taught by Robinette when he was an Osgoode Hall law professor in the early '30s. You might say winning is easier when you have had a chance to shape the minds of the judges you are arguing in front of. Robinette was offered and accepted a posi tion on the Ontario Court of Appeal in 1953. Within weeks, however, he got cold feet and turned the position down. The action occurred in front of the bench, not behind it. Robinette's biographer, Jack Batten, had the advantage of full co-operation from not only Robinette but also many of his contemporaries. The result is a particularly enjoyable work, filled with many personal anecdotes (told by friend and foe alike) and trenchant accounts of some of Robinette's most important battles. Tony Cote is editor of Action Line National bestsellers Canada's national list is supplied by bookstores in Ottawa and across the country. The first number after the title tells last week's rank, the second, the weeks listed. Fiction 1. First Among Equals, by Jeffrey Archer (General). 2. The Fourth Protocol, by Frederick Forsyth (Stod-dart). 3. The Aquitaine Progression, by Robert Ludlum (Random House). 4. The Haj, by Leon Uris (Doubleday). 5. And The Ladies Of The Club, by H. H. Santmyer (Stoddart). 6. Lincoln, by Gore Vidal (Random House). 7. Tough Guys Don't Dance, by Norman Mailer (Random House). 8. The Miko, by Eric Van Lustbader (Random House). 9. Full Circle, by Danielle Steel (Doubleday). 0. Strong Medicine, by Arthur Hailey (Doubleday). Non-fiction 2. 1. The Promised Land, by Pierre Berton (McClelland and Stewart). Loving Each Other, by Leo Buscaglia (Holt, Rine- hart Winston). 3. The Year Of Armageddon, by Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan-Witts (Collins). 4. In God's Name, by David Yallop (Academic). 5. Vengeance, by George Jonas (Lester and Orpen Dennys Collins). 6. What They Don't Teach You At Harvard Business School, by Mark McCormick (Bantam). 7. Eat to Win, by Robert Haas (McClelland and Stewart). 8. March of Folly, by Barbara Tuchman (Random House). 9. The Kennedys: An American Drama, by Peter Collier and David Horowitz (Musson). 10. Looking For Trouble, by Peter Worthington (Key, Porter). Copyright 1984 Toronto Star Syndicate 10 5 30 24 11 15 4 2 20 4 3 2 13 21 5 3 8 16 6 27 11 The National Arts Centre presents the Theatre Plus production A comedy with music! Tickets now available: Teleticket 237-4400 or at the NAC Box Office 7AJ by Peter Nichols directed by Malcolm Black Starring Tom Kneebone PIOHSH 1)0 advised . . . litis production contains some course languuxB and nudity, Opening October 4, 1984 Theatre 20:00

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