Heard Amid the Guns

True Stories from the Western Front, 1914–1918

Reviewed by Mark Collin Reid

Posted December 1, 2021

Heard Amid the Guns, by Jacqueline Larson Carmichael, is a poignant and easily accessible addition to an ever-growing library of books that focus on the human side of the “war to end all wars.”

Carmichael, a journalist, was inspired to write her book after receiving a bundle of war letters penned by her grandfather, a First World War veteran. She has a reporter’s knack for finding the “hook” in a story and then presenting it in a compelling and engaging way. Her book mines journals, letters, and memoirs of soldiers, nursing sisters, and others who served and presents their tales in an engaging vignette style.

Heard Amid the Guns is divided into ten chapters that explore topics such as wartime racism, the role of women both overseas and at home, and even the roles animals played during the conflict. The book features photographs and other images that enhance the presentation of the stories.

Both of Carmichael’s grandfathers served in the First World War — and each was fortunate to have survived and to have returned home to Canada. Like many other veterans of that conflict, neither of the men spoke much about their wartime experiences. Thankfully, authors like Carmichael are doing the legwork in archives to find and to share our veterans’ experiences with new generations of Canadians.

Buy this book from Chapters-Indigo

This article originally appeared in the December 2021-January 2022 issue of Canada's History.

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