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Why Stay We Here?

II. Press Release

Why Stay We Here? (Odyssey of a Canadian Infantry Officer in the Great War) was republished (Nov. 2002) by Godwin Books in Victoria. This autobiographical novel had been out of print since 1930. It is the sequel to The Eternal Forest (1929) which we republished in 1994.

The author, George Godwin (1889-1974) was born in London, studied for several years as a teenager in Germany, then homesteaded as a fruit-farmer in the Fraser Valley (1911-1916). His many-faceted impressions of Canada are recorded in The Eternal Forest. Impoverished and desperate, Godwin and his family returned to England from British Columbia in 1916. Godwin signed up with the Canadian Infantry, saw action in France, was invalided out, and returned to Canada for rehabilitation. All of this is recorded in Why Stay We Here?

A wise saying has it that "the first casualty of war is truth". This is certainly true for the First World War. Not only was this war conducted with ultra-tight censorship; it was complex and controversial in the extreme. Historians are still trying to make sense of it. This is where Godwin has much to say of value as a first-hand eyewitness. He describes how soldiers and civilians were damaged, physically and mentally, and how the damage did not end in November, 1918, but tended to be transmitted over the generations, up to the present day. He has much to say about subtle indoctrination (via the official publication on the War’s progress, Land and Water), censorship of letters, demonizing of the enemy, the abuse of power by some officers, etc.; on the positive side Godwin writes of valor and self-sacrifice, and the ineffable but powerful esprit de corps which binds a battalion together.

The 1930 edition contained only the text and one reviewer in 1930 lamented that Godwin’s book was unfortunately appearing at the tail-end of a plethora of books about World War One and that people had had enough of the subject. This new edition contains a preface by Professor Reg Roy, a detailed (11 pp.) introduction by publisher Robert Stuart Thomson, hundreds of footnotes on the text, and a section of photographs and other realia to illustrate many of this book’s allusions.

Why Stay We Here?:

Free Read: Intro and Ch. 1-3


Press Release

Sample Passages

Recent Reviews (2004)

Further Review and Essay
George Godwin:

George Godwin's Life

The Eternal Forest

Why Stay We Here?

Vancouver, A Life

Columbia, Or  The Future of Canada
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