Book review: Montcalm and Wolfe by Roch Carrier

Book review: Montcalm and Wolfe by Roch Carrier

Montcalm and Wolfe
By Roch Carrier
(Translated by Donald Winkler)
ISBN: 9781443436885
Price: $34.99
Published by HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Two men who forever changed the course of Canadian history – so it says just under the title on the cover of this awesome book.

Roch Carrier expertly weaves the story of the two generals to which we all know the outcome.

What sets this one apart from others out there is that it’s a story told so well. Roch Carrier (celebrated Quebec author of the Hockey Sweater) truly is a master of his craft whose standards all others should aspire to.

Montcalm & Wolfe traces the two opponents’ lives from their early days in France and England respectively. We see their human side, away from the military machines that dictated their futures.

Carrier charts their courses through history going into some detail regarding their respective military careers’ and their relationships with their families.

James Wolfe – hopeless on the high seas, gangly, pale, perennially unwell, but nevertheless a skilled tactician and respected by his peers and those who served him.

Louis-Joseph de Montcalm – a family man of substantial wealth who failed to save Quebec from the clutches of the British due to not having enough troops or support from the French hierarchy back home.

There is considerable Scottish influence on both sides – The Highlanders fighting for British interests and many Scots in the French ranks – Montcalm’s aide-de-camp being one of them.

The loyalties of the indigenous people are also sorely tested, again by both sides.

The hours of painstaking research that has gone in to this book is clear for all to see.

The battles across America and Canada are epic. At times you could imagine you were there.

The lead up to the day in Quebec that changed history and began the forging of a nation and the day itself are well documented.

What pleased me most about Montcalm and Wolfe was the explanation of the immediate and long-term aftermath.
Telllingly, Roch Carrier finishes with ‘Montcalm, Wolfe, officers, soldiers, militiamen, and indigenous people had been wisps of straw swept away by the raging currents of a war between narcissistic tribal chiefs.’

That of course, written in other fashions, has been the tenet of war, battles, and struggles since time immemorial.

This phrase could also be applied to what’s going on around the world today and will (almost certainly) continue to do so on and off long after we’ve shuffled off our mortal coils.

If you are interested in Quebec, Canada, France, Britain, the military, and / or history in any shape or form then this book is most definitely for you.


This review is kindly supported by Livres Trois Canons.

For English books in Quebec City this is the place to be.
Thousands of new and used English books permanently in stock.

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Categories: Quebec Literature

About Author

Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield moved to Quebec in 2009. He is part of the team responsible for the publishing company behind and Life in Québec Magazine. He has been involved with online and print media since 2001. He is passionate about cricket, is a qualified coach, and his real ambition is to start a cricket team in Quebec City – something he freely admits is probably beyond him. Follow him on Twitter @GreenfieldAndy

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