QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

Mark Zuehlke would agree with Leonardo da Vinci who said, "Work is the law."; A Pierre Berton without the bow tie, Zuehlke has quickly become one of Canada's pre-eminent war historians with a spate of activity rivalled only by the pace of the late George Woodcock. In an age when creative non-fiction is chic, he does old-fashioned research.

To produce 27 titles between 1992 and 2014, Zuehlke has not busied himself with chapbooks, poetry titles or personal ramblings. He has somehow researched and written fourteen, thick military histories in that period, simultaneously producing a trilogy of detective novels, plus nine other books, including the first and only book to examine the phenomenon of remittance men in B.C., Scoundrels, Dreamers and Second Sons: British Remittance Men in the Canadian West (1994).

In the eighth volume of his Canadian Battle Series, On to Victory (2010), Zuehlke recalls the fiercely fought and bittersweet liberation of Holland, incorporating the views and words of men on the ground. Never mind hockey-this was the greatest Canadian victory. It cost more than four billion dollars and the lives of 1,482 Canadians, as well as 6,298 casualties, but the Dutch remain grateful.

Born in Vernon in 1955, Mark Zuehlke has received the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize for Holding Juno (2005) and the Canadian Authors Association Lela Common Award for Canadian History for For Honour's Sake: The War of 1812 and the Brokering of an Uneasy Peace (2006). In his spare time he won the Arthur Ellis Best First Novel Award from the Crime Writers of Canada for Hands Like Clouds (2000).

FULL ENTRY:

Never mind Sidney Crosby's overtime goal. The greatest Canadian victory was the liberation of Holland. It cost more than four billion dollars-because it cost the lives of 1,482 Canadians and resulted in 6,298 casualties. The Dutch remain grateful. In the eighth volume of his Canadian Battle Series, On To Victory (D&M $37.95), Mark Zuehlke recalls the fiercely-fought and bittersweet military triumph to end his story of Canada in World War II. Berton without the bow-tie, Zuehlke is a popular historian who deserves all the credit his work can get in an era when "creative non-fiction"; is de rigeur.

Canada's liberation of western Holland and the crucial estuary was its bloodiest campaign in World War II but its blow-by-blow progress was previously under-appreciated. Previously, in 2007, Zuehlke extensively documented the 55-day, mud-soaked struggle of the First Canadian Army in 1944 to open the Antwerp coast for Allied shipping in Terrible Victory: First Canadian Army and the Scheldt Estuary Campaign.

The Allied invasion of Sicily was the first battle experience for 20,000 troops from the 1st Canadian Infantry Division and the 1st Canadian Tank Brigade. Zuehlke recounted their combat versus fierce German opposition for 28 days in Operation Husky (D&M $36.95), his seventh volume documenting major Canadian campaigns of World War II.

As of his sixth title pertaining to World War II, Mark Zuehlke was touted as the nation's leading writer of popular military history by his publisher, an opinion shared by Jack Granatstein. He subsequently produced The Canadian Military Atlas and a history of the War of 1812 entitled For Honour's Sake: The War of 1812 and The Brokering of an Uneasy Peace.

Mark Zuehlke was one of the marchers in Operation Husky 2013, a 300-kilometre march through Sicily in the footsteps of Canadian soldiers who were there in WW II. He used that arduous trek as a catalyst to contemplate war and the culture of remembrance in a book, Through Blood and Sweat: A Remembrance Trek Across Sicily's World War II Battlegrounds (Douglas & McIntyre, $36.95). Leading up to Remembrance Day of 2015, Zuehlke travelled across the country with filmmaker Max Fraser for their Operation Husky Remembrance Film and Book Tour. Fraser accompanied Zuehlke on the Sicilian trek in order to make his documentary, Bond of Strangers. The film and the book on Operation Husky-the 1943 invasion of Sicily-are derived from the 70th anniversary pilgrimage that took place in July 2013. For Through Blood and Sweat and the documentary, it was necessary for a small contingent of marchers to trek between 15 and 35 kilometres each day, usually along winding country roads, in order to reach the outskirts of a small town or village. Often they walked under a searing sun, with Mount Etna's soaring heights always in the distance. The memorial marchers were joined by a pipe band as they were repeatedly greeted by hundreds of cheering and applauding Sicilians. Before each community's war memorial, a service of remembrance for both the Canadian and Sicilian war dead was conducted. Each day brought the marchers closer to their final destination-Agira Canadian War Cemetery, where 490 of the 562 Canadian soldiers who fell during the course of Operation Husky in 1943 are buried.

As the twelfth installment in Mark Zuehlke's military history series, The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports (Douglas & McIntyre, 2017 $37.95) tells the story of how First Canadian Army opened the way to Allied victory in World War II. They thought of themselves as the "Cinderella Army" and international correspondents agreed. This was because First Canadian Army had been relegated to the left flank of the Allied advance toward Germany from the Normany beaches and given the tough and thankless task of opening the Channel ports from Le Havre to Ostend in Belgium. Then suddenly in September 1944, securing these ports became an Allied priority that would allow Field Marshal Montgomery to drive to the Rhine with Operation Market Garden and win the war before Christmas. Over the month of September, the Canadians set about fighting for control of each port--a terrific undertaking fought against brutal German resistance--and scrambling for supplies while under constant military pressure to get those ports open now. For Canada this was the Cinderella Campaign, the battle for the Channel ports. For those who fought it, the sacrifice of comrades dead and wounded would never be forgotten. This book was one of five shortlisted titles for the 2018 John W. Dafoe Book Prize, a $10,000 prize in memory of Canadian editor John Wesley Dafoe.

Mark Zuehlke's first Rapid Reads volume for adults is Ortona Street Fight (Orca 2011), describing one of the most memorable and difficult battles ever fought by Canadian troops. On December 20, 1943, two Canadian infantry battalions and a tank regiment were poised on the outskirts of a small Italian port town. For reasons unknown, Hitler had ordered Ortona to be held by his troops to the last man. Houses, churches and other buildings were dynamited by the Germans, clogging the streets with rubble. Machine gunners and snipers waited in ambush. It was a death trap. Hand to hand combat and Canadian ingenuity ultimately produced a Canadian victory.

Born in Vernon on August 27, 1955, Zuehlke grew up in the Okanagan Valley where he first heard stories about British remittance men, leading him to write his first book of popular history, Scoundrels, Dreamers and Second Sons: British Remittance Men in the Canadian West (1994). He has co-authored, co-produced, and served as historical consultant for a one-hour documentary entitled The Remittance Men based on Scoundrels, Dreamers and Second Sons. It first aired on CTV in 2000.

Since 1981, Zuehlke has been one of B.C.'s most versatile writers, specializing in military history while starting a second career as a mystery novelist. His 'detective' is a Tofino coroner named Elias McCann who is partnered with a beautiful Cambodian-born girlfriend Vhanna. Hands Like Clouds won the Arthur Ellis First Novel Award in 2000 and Sweep Lotus was an Arthur Ellis Best Novel Award finalist in 2005.

When he lived in Kelowna, Zuehlke served as regional director of the Periodical Writers Association of Canada. He later became national PWAC president. He subsequently became founding national president of the the Electronic Rights Licensing Agency, an organization no longer in existence.

Zuehlke now lives in Victoria. He won the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize in 2006 for Holding Juno and the The Lela Common Award for Canadian History [see press release below] in 2007.

[For other authors who wrote about war, see abcbookworld entries for Adams, LaVerne; Allinson, Sidney; Allister, William; Alvarez, Manuel; Andrews, Allen; Barnholden, Michael; Bell, Gordon; Bjarnason, Bogi; Bourret, Annie; Bowman, Phylis; Briemberg, Mordecai; Broadfoot, Barry; Brodsky, G.W. Stephen; Brown, Atholl Sutherland; Browne, Donald Elgin; Cambon, Kenneth; Childerhose, R.J.; Clarke, Jay; Clavell, James; Cobley, Evelyn; Cohen, Stan; Cowling, Tony; Coyle, Brendan; Crawford, Scott; Crooks, Sylvia; Culhane, Claire; de Groot, Jan; Dixon, Jack; Drabek, Jan; Eagle, Raymond; Evans, Hubert; Fairclough, Gordon; Ferguson, Julie H.; Filter, Bo; Floris, Steve; Francis, Daniel; Galipeau, John; Garnett, Heidi; Gibson, John Frederic; Gleason, Mona; Godwin, George; Gough, Kathleen; Greenwood, Alexander; Greer, Rosamond; Gregory, Roxanne; Harker, Douglas Edward; Kahn, Leon; Keith, Agnes Newton; Leighton, Frank; Linn, Ruth; Lovatt, R.; Martin, Nikolaus Claude; McDowell, Jim; McInnes, Harvelyn Baird; McLeod, Gould L.; McMahon, John; McWilliams, James; Meade, Edward F.; Meyers, Edward; Mickleburgh, Rod; Mielnicki, Michel; Moszkiewiez, Helen; Mumford, Gordon; Murray, Keith; Napier, Roger; O'Kiely, Elizabeth; Oberle, Frank; Patterson, Kevin; Priebe, Eckehart; Propp, Dan; Purdy, Verity Sweeny; Ralph, Wayne; Rayment, Hugh; Reid, Charles; Rieger, Carla; Robertson, Alan; Rogow, Sally; Russell, Chester; Sager, Arthur; Sharifad, Yadi; Sheed, David J.; Sheffield, R. Scott; Slater, Ian; Smith, Blake; Spector, Norman; Steele, Samuel Benfield; Stofer, Ken; Stursberg, Peter; Sturze, Klaus G.M.; Taylor, Mary; Thomas, Elizabeth; Thorn, J.C.; Tobler, Douglas Hugen; van Oort, Boudewijn; Wade, Frank; Wagner, Gordon; Wilkes, Helen Waldstein; Williams, Jana; Wilson, John; Windsor, John; Wood, James A.; Young, Albert Charles.] @2010.

BOOKS:

Fiction:

Sweep Lotus: An Elias McCann Mystery. Dundurn Group, 2004.

Carry Tiger to Mountain: An Elias McCann Mystery, Castle Street Mysteries, Dundurn Group, 2002.

Hands Like Clouds: An Elias McCann Mystery, Castle Street Mysteries, Dundurn Group, 2000.

Military:

The Cinderella Campaign: First Canadian Army and the Battles for the Channel Ports (D&M 2017) $37.95 978-1-77162-089-5

Through Blood and Sweat: A Remembrance Trek Across Sicily's World War II Battlegrounds (Douglas & McIntyre 2015) $36.95

Forgotten Victory: First Canadian Army and the Winter Campaigns of 1944-1945 (Douglas & McIntyre 2014] $37.95 9781771620413

Tragedy at Dieppe: Operation Jubilee, August 19, 1942 (Douglas and McIntyre, 2012) $36.95 978-1-55365-835-1

Assault on Juno (Orca Books, 2012) Rapid Reads.

Breakout from Juno: First Canadian Army and the Normandy Campaign, July 4 - August 21, 1944 (D&M 2011) 978-1-55365-325-7 $36.95

Ortona Street Fight (Orca 2011) Rapid Reads. 9781554693986

On To Victory: The Canadian Liberation of the Netherlands, March 23-May 5, 1945
(D&M 2010) $37.95) 978-1-55365-430-8

Operation Husky (D&M 2008) $36.95 978-1-55365-324-0

Brave Battalion: The Remarkable Saga of the 16th Battalion (Canadian Scottish) in the First World War (Wiley & Sons 2008)

Terrible Victory: First Canadian Army and the Scheldt Estuary Campaign (D&M 2007). $37.95. 978-01-55365-227-4

For Honour's Sake: The War of 1812 and The Brokering of an Uneasy Peace (Knopf, 2006).

Canadian Military Atlas: Four Centuries of Conflict from New France to Kosovo (Douglas & McIntyre, 2006). Maps by C. Stuart Daniel.

Holding Juno: Canada's Heroic Defence of the D-Day Beaches, June 7-12, 1944, Douglas & McIntyre, 2005.

Juno Beach -- Canada's D-Day Victory, Douglas & McIntyre, 2004.

The Gothic Line: Canada's Month of Hell in World War II Italy, Douglas & McIntyre, 2003.

The Canadian Military Atlas: The Nation's Battlefields from the French and Indian Wars to Kosovo, Stoddart Publishing Company, 2001. Co-author C. Stuart Daniel.

The Liri Valley: Canada's World War II Breakthrough to Rome, Stoddart Publishing Company, 2001.

Ortona: Canada's Epic World War II Battle, Stoddart Publishing Company, 1999.

The Gallant Cause: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939, Whitecap Books, 1996.

General:

Scoundrels, Dreamers & Second Sons: British Remittance Men in the Canadian West, Dundurn Group, 2001, Second Edition, Revised and Expanded.

The Yukon Fact Book: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about the Yukon, Whitecap Books, 1998.

The Alberta Fact Book: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Alberta, Whitecap Books, 1997.

Fun B.C. Facts for Kids, Whitecap Books, 1996.

The B.C. Fact Book: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about British Columbia, Whitecap Books, 1995.

Scoundrels, Dreamers and Second Sons: British Remittance Men in the Canadian West, Whitecap Books, 1994.

The Vancouver Island South Explorer: The Outdoor Guide, Whitecap Books, 1994.

Magazine Writing from the Boonies, Carleton University Press, 1992. Co-authored with Louise Donnelly.

AWARDS:

2000 Best First Novel Award, Arthur Ellis Crime Writers of Canada. (Hands Like Clouds).

2006 City of Victoria Butler Book Prize (Holding Juno).

2007 Canadian Authors Association Lela Common Award for Canadian History (For Honour's Sake)

[BCBW 2017]