And in the Morning


198 pages
ISBN 1-55337-348-2
DDC jC813'.54






Reviewed by Ian A. Andrews

Ian A. Andrews is editor of the New Brunswick Teachers’ Association’s Focus and co-author of Becoming a Teacher.


This historical novel is about the futility of war. Author John Wilson
takes an actual British soldier who died in World War I and weaves a
composite story of adolescent growth, enlistment propaganda, horrific
battlefield conditions, and systemic organizational misconduct in a
world seemingly bereft of empathetic leadership and common sense.

Using diary entries written while on active duty near the Western Front
in France and Flanders as a story base, Wilson works major battles and
important peripheral events into his chronology. Headlines and lead
paragraphs from newspaper stories are interspersed throughout. The
reader is reminded of the “rebellion in Dublin” and the deaths of
six people in the “Canadian Parliamentary fire,” as well as the
deadly fiasco at the Battle of the Somme on July 1, 1916. The stark
reality of war supersedes the naive youthful presumption of impending
adventure and glory.

Soldiers are not viewed as cardboard characters. An appreciation of the
poetry of Kipling, Keats, and T.S. Eliot is as important as the desire
to communicate with home. Those who suffered from “shell shock” (now
known as post-traumatic stress syndrome) were charged with cowardice or
desertion and were “shot at dawn” by compassionless leaders.

And in the Morning could have as strong an effect on young-adult
readers as Erich Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front combined
with Charles Dickens’s sense of happenstance and closure. This is an
excellent book that highlights the emotions and surprises of war. Highly


Wilson, John., “And in the Morning,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 23, 2024,