Fighting from Home: The Second World War in Verdun, Quebec


279 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps, Bibliography, Index
ISBN 0-7748-1261-3
DDC 971.4'28





Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein, Distinguished Research Professor of History Emeritus,
York University, served as Director of the Canadian War Museum from 1998
to 2000. His latest works are Who Killed Canadian History?, Who Killed
the Canadian Military, and Hell’s Cor


There are a few well-done histories of the Canadian homefront during
World War II, notably Jeffrey Keshen’s Saints, Sinners and Soldiers.
Until now, however, there has been no detailed study of a single
community during the war, a gap that has been neatly and capably filled
by Serge Durflinger’s examination of Verdun, Quebec. Verdun is a
superb town to study because it was a linguistically mixed (divided, one
might say) and working class area bordering on Montreal. It had
industries that grew exponentially in wartime, and it had housing
shortages; it also had heavy enlistment into the armed forces, though
anglophone enlistment was three times that of francophones. All of these
factors influenced the ways in which citizens reacted to the war and to
each other.

Durflinger, a professor of history at the University of Ottawa, has
written a nuanced study that includes all the subjects one might
expect—from politics to juvenile delinquency, from the food people ate
to the familial stresses caused by almost unlimited overtime work.
Canadian military history now clearly encompasses social history, and
Durflinger’s fine prose blends it all into a very readable story that
adds significantly to our understanding of Quebec and Canada.


Durflinger, Serge Marc., “Fighting from Home: The Second World War in Verdun, Quebec,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed April 24, 2024,