No Day Long Enough: Canadian Science in World War II


274 pages
Contains Photos, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919769-65-9
DDC 940.54'8




Edited by George R. Lindsey
Reviewed by William A. Waiser

William A. Waiser is a professor of history at the University of
Saskatchewan, and the author of Saskatchewan’s Playground: A History
of Prince Albert National Park and Park Prisoners: The Untold Story of
Western Canada’s National Parks, 1915–1946.


When Canada went to war against the German Reich in September 1939, the
Mackenzie King government tried to limit its overseas manpower
commitments in order to avoid a conscription crisis at home. This
emphasis on fighting a “limited liability” war has often
overshadowed the sacrifice and bravery of those who took part in the
military campaign. But what is even less well known are the many
contributions that Canadian scientists made to the Allied war effort.
This book seeks to correct that neglect.

No Day Long Enough is a collection of essays by scientists who either
participated in the wartime research programs or built on their
pioneering efforts in the 1950s. Each chapter deals with a particular
topic, from radar development to chemical and biological warfare to
research on specific naval and air force problems. And although the
writing is occasionally stilted, the book conveys the sense of urgency
that propelled the projects. It is also readily apparent that all kinds
of ideas or theories, no matter how farfetched, were actively
investigated. The attempt to build indestructible ice-ships in Jasper
National Park is a good example.

This wartime research not only marked the coming-of-age of the National
Research Council, but it also fostered greater cooperation between
government agencies and the Canadian university community. Furthermore,
the scientists who devoted every waking moment to their projects were
just as important to the war effort as those who did the actual
fighting. No Day Long Enough provides a broader appreciation of the term
total war.


“No Day Long Enough: Canadian Science in World War II,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed May 30, 2024,