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Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead
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Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  93 ratings  ·  25 reviews
In June a few years ago I set out to visit some of the World War One battlefields of Europe – the slope and valley and river and plain that the Newfoundland Regiment trained on, and fought over and through and under.” 
So begins Michael Winter’s extraordinary narrative that follows two parallel journeys, one laid on top of the other like a sketch on opaque paper over th
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 4th 2014 by Doubleday Canada
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This book was enticing, with its neat cover and catchy title, perched on a shelf in the bookstore practically begging me to take it home: it was the last of its kind in the store. It was an easy sell for me as I have served with Newfoundlanders for many years - they provide soldiers for the Canadian military in numbers far out of proportion to the population of the province. I have the greatest admiration for them, a hardy race, almost always honest and uncomplicated; you never have to guess whe ...more
Nov 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
I started to read this book out of a general interest in WW1 and a specific interest in the Newfoundland battalion. The book was not what I had expected. There is no discussion about political or military issues or strategy. There are no accounts in exhaustive detail of attacks prepared for and made. There are no stories of decorations won by daring deeds. There is very little of that other staple of WW1 literature, details of the lives in and out of the trenches of the soldiers. If you seek any ...more
Sep 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
I received and ARC copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads program.

Michael Winter takes the reader with him on his journey to visit the First World War battlefields and cemeteries that have particular meaning to Newfoundland's history. Along the way, Winter relates tidbits of the personal experiences of some Newfoundland soldiers, but the book ends up coming across as being more about his journey than the history.

This is an interesting book, definitely more memoir than history. If yo
Oct 23, 2014 rated it did not like it
I received an advanced reader copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I tried. I tried so hard to be interested in and to like this book, but reading this book was so tedious. I really did want to learn more about Newfoundland’s history, especially before it became a part of Canada, because I think knowing our history is important. The fact that nonfiction tends to bore me is a factor in the way I feel about this book, but I think the format and writing also affected me.

This boo
Briar's Reviews
Since I am a Canadian, I decided this book would be an interesting read that would enhance my knowledge of Canada. And surprisingly, I enjoyed it a lot more than I expected!

I wanted to read the book to gain more knowledge, but I ended up really enjoying the book and getting into it.

The book follows the journey of the author through Newfoundland and past battlefields and grave sites of soldiers. The chapters in this book were short and sweet, but the nicest little gem was how much information an
Sep 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
An elegy for those who set forth from Newfoundland.

It seems the best word to describe this. It's not a history of the regiment. It's not a look at The Great War's place in Newfoundland's history. It's more of a travelogue. Michael Winter retraces the footsteps of the regiment and reflects. A creek is occasion to tell the story of the men who crossed it. A graveyard recalls the man on whose stone Winter rests. A train journey through London causes him to think of their return after the war.

In fac
Jim Lang
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
I love reading about the First World War, and this exploration of the contributions of Newfoundland soldiers to that conflict should have been right up my alley, but it suffers from a few problems, the most prominent of which is the writer. This book falls more into the travel memoir genre than history book, and it really is mostly about the writer going to Europe to walk around the places where the Newfoundlanders fought.

There's nothing wrong with that kind of book. Geoff Dyer's The Missing of
A.J.B. Johnston
Dec 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Winter is a highly regarded novelist who has written a history with a distinct difference. It’s a travelogue and memoir rolled into one, with many reflections by the author on the effect of the passing of time.

As Winter states about halfway through the book, he was not interested in re-writing the history of Newfoundland’s role in the Great War. Instead, his main questions were: “How war and the past creep into everyday life? How does the past ambush us?”

The book recounts a journey Winter took
Shannon Cole
Dec 27, 2014 rated it liked it
At first I was not sure what to expect I was given this book as a gift. It is a different take on ww1 - the author visits areas and battlefields that the nlfd regiment experienced during the war. Sometimes I found the travel guide aspect of the book unnecessary, while other times I found I wAs interested in these little aspects of the book. The individual stories and histories of the soldiers was by far the best part of the book - I looked forward to these sections, regardless of how brief they ...more
Oct 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This isn't a book that I would have picked up on my own but I'm really glad that I've read it.
It was such an interesting story in which the author goes back to follow the steps that the Newfoundland Regiment took during WWI.
I enjoyed that the author retold his story by incorporating the stories/lives of those in the Regiment. It made the history come across in a more intriguing way.
Oct 01, 2014 rated it liked it
I won a copy of Into the Blizzard: Walking the Fields of the Newfoundland Dead by Michael Winter through a Goodreads giveaway.

Into the Blizzard wasn't exactly what I was expecting when I entered the giveaway, but it was an interesting read.
Sep 08, 2014 rated it liked it
I was excited when I won this book through Goodreads, because my mom is from Newfoundland. Also because I'll shortly have a minor in history, and I thought this book would be relevant to the history course I'm currently taking.

Well, the English major in me mostly enjoyed the book, but the historian is really disappointed. Mind, the ARC doesn't have all of the sources at the back, but for me it raised more questions than I had before, and I feel like the title isn't accurate to the content. The
Jul 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history
It's a shame that Winter manages to make the book just as much about him as the Newfoundland Regiment. His far-fetched and forced connections between his country's past and his own present too often put Winter in the same focus as the soldiers. Was that the aim?

I'm sure Winter's a smart guy, but he doesn't need to prove it by using long, distracting words and phrases when simple ones would do - the story doesn't need dressing up.

There are positives about this book - the physical descriptions of
Dec 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: memoir
Michael Winter relates his journey to England and France on a quest to deepen his understanding of the steps taken by the Newfoundland Regiment's experience in WWI. I read it in preparation for a trip to Newfoundland and it did not disappoint in capturing the spirit of the fighters. It was a dark reading experience knowing the tragic outcome. In the Somme 753 members entered combat and only 68 survived. Winter is transparent in this struggles to come to terms with the loss of life while at the s ...more
Apr 10, 2015 added it
Author seeks what if anything Newfoundland's dead from WWI have left to memory beyond cemetaries, museums and monuments. He follows the soldiers' path overseas where many of them fought at both Gallipoli and the Somme mixing his own experience with snapshots of soldiers' biography. Tommy Ricketts who won the Victoria Cross and survived to run a drugstore back home is one of the more effective of his portraits. Winter's path is a meandering one and not everything strikes a chord but what does is ...more
Sep 05, 2014 rated it liked it
Liked this book very much...a sort of personalized journey through WWI battlefields. Quite interesting. Michael Winter gets to the "heart of the matter" when it comes to the history of the Newfoundland regiment, as he walks in the soldiers' footsteps, and takes his own parallel journey.

Received an ARC through Goodreads.

Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: first-reads
*I received a free copy of this book from Goodreads First Reads*

I admire what the author was trying to do in this book, but it was so fractured and I lacked background knowledge so I had a hard time digging in to it. I suspect that my husband will enjoy this more than I did.
Nicole Laverdure
Sep 13, 2014 rated it really liked it
I won this book through Goodreads and since I'm Canadian, I thought this book would interesting to read. It's well written and documented, but it didn't really kept me interested till the end.
Margaret Bryant
Jul 11, 2015 rated it it was amazing
My own prejudices were pretty sure I wouldn't enjoy this book. Boy, was I ever wrong. Read it in 24 hours. You should too!
Dec 04, 2014 rated it really liked it
A good book. Fascinating.
Aileen Lord
Aug 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book takes a different approach to writing about the First World War making it more personal,not something that happened a hundred years ago but something that affects us still
Dec 16, 2014 rated it really liked it
Travel memoir, searching for his own relationship to many from Newfoundland who 'went no further' than their country , Newfoundland, honoured them in death.)
Jan 06, 2015 marked it as to-read
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Author of five books: The Architects Are Here, The Big Why, This All Happened, One Last Good Look, Creaking in their Skins. His novel, The Death of Donna Whalen, is slated for publication in 2010.