Forty-five years after the fall of Saigon, John Boyko brings to light the little-known story of Canada's involvement in the American War in Vietnam. Through the lens of six remarkable people, some well-known, others obscure, bestselling historian John Boyko recounts Canada's often-overlooked involvement in that conflict as peacemaker, combatant, and provider of weapons and sanctuary.
When Brigadier General Sherwood Lett arrived in Vietnam over a decade before American troops, he and the Canadians under his command risked their lives trying to enforce an unstable peace while questioning whether they were merely handmaidens to a new war. As American battleships steamed across the Pacific, Canadian diplomat Blair Seaborn was meeting secretly in Hanoi with North Vietnam’s prime minister; if American leaders accepted his roadmap to peace, those ships could be turned around before war began. Claire Culhane worked in a Canadian hospital in Vietnam and then returned home to implore Canadians to stop supporting what she deemed an immoral war. Joe Erickson was among 30,000 young Americans who changed Canada by evading the draft and heading north; Doug Carey was one of the 20,000 Canadians who enlisted with the American forces to serve in Vietnam. Rebecca Trinh fled Saigon with her husband and young daughters, joining the waves of desperate Indochinese refugees, thousands of whom were to forge new lives in Canada.
Through these wide-ranging and fascinating accounts, Boyko exposes what he calls the Devil’s wiliest trick: convincing leaders that war is desirable, persuading the public that it is acceptable, and telling combatants that the deeds they carry out and the horrors they experience are normal, or at least necessary. In uncovering Canada’s side of the story, Boyko reveals the many secret and forgotten ways that Canada not only fought the war but was forever shaped by its lessons and lies.