What Men Will Die For
Raymond Souster with Les Green

Docu-poem 407 pp. Quality Trade Paperback
ISBN 978-1-55246-712-1 @ $30.00
Docu-poem 407 pp. Hard Cover
ISBN 978-1-55246-711-4 @ $45.00
 Read Judith Fitzgerald's Review which appeared in The Globe and Mail
  Read Marlene Briggs review in Canadian Literature (http://www.canlit.ca/reviews.php?id=14736 )

Makes less sense
with every passing day.

The unspoken honour among comrades.

What ever is left of any honour
shared among comrades.

4. Soldier on
Work in Progress
Five years in the making
and we still struggle on.
We can't believe ourselves
how this monster has grown!

Raymond Souster was born in Toronto, Canada in 1921, the city also of his parents' birth. He attended local public schools, graduating from Humberside Collegiate Institute in 1939. That same year he joined the staff of the Imperial Bank of Canada (now CIBC), retiring with 44 years of service in 1984.
    In 1947 he married Rosalia Geralde of Redcliff, Alberta, and the couple celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary this year. Except for the four years spent in the wartime RCAF as ground crew, he has lived all his life in Toronto's west end.
    In 1964 his volume of so-called collected poems, titled The Colour Of The Times, won the Governor General's Award for Poetry in English, and in 1969 he was co-winner of the first City of Toronto Book Award. In 1994 he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada.
    His Collected Poems in ten volumes are still available from Oberon Press of Ottawa. In 2006, The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box published six volumes; the three of poetry being Uptown Downtown, Wondrous Wobbly World and Down to Earth; two reissues of novels, The Winter of Time, and On Target; and one memoir titled Making The Damn Thing Work, detailing the first four years of the League Of Canadian Poets.

Les Green, born in 1936 in Hamilton, Canada, spent his childhood in southern Ontario, graduating from the University of Toronto in applied mathematics in 1958. One of the pioneers of computing in Canada, he participated in the design of many of the more innovative uses of this technology in the 60's and 70's. After a six-year stint with the UN in Rome and the OECD in Paris, he, his wife Marion and their four children returned to Toronto, where he established a company to design educational software. This experience was crystallized by Green and his partner, Kel Crossley, into a how-to book for teachers, published in five languages in 1985.
    Currently retired, he and his wife enjoy their eight grandchildren, and their frequent sessions with their long-time neighbour Ray Souster.

About This Book

Five years in the making, this narrative poem of 13,000 lines explores the epic siege of Dien Bien Phu, in all its gallantry, horror and stupidity. It is aimed at the average reader, but is also of interest to poetry fans and modern history buffs, and perhaps even professional historians.
    In What Men Will Die For the author has made use of a multi-voiced poetic technique like that found in his Jubilee of Death (Oberon 1984), a retelling of the ill-fated Dieppe raid. In this new work, the voices that we listen to, rendered in English but mostly drawn from French sources, are intended to give a final impression of the supreme uselessness and stupidity of war. Here you will meet, speaking for the side of the Viet Minh (abbreviated from "League for the Independence of Vietnam"), that lifetime Communist revolutionary leader, Ho Chi Minh, his one time university professor colleague General Vo Nguyen Giap, academic historian turned military technician, and chief medical advisor to Giap, Professor Ton That Tung. Speaking for the French, will be noteworthy military figures such as generals de Tassigny, Salan, Navarre, Gilles, Cogny, and de Castries, and battled-hardened field commanders including Bigeard, Langlais and Séguin-Pazzis, not forgetting the mercurial one-armed artillery man Colonel Piroth.
    Where would a war be without its meddling politicians? In this, France's "Dirty War," the revolving-door politicians of the Fourth Republic bring additional confusion to the theme. The reader will sit in on meetings with various presidents, prime ministers, cabinet ministers, and envoys, in Paris, Washington and Vietnam.
In stark contrast to the blood-letting and horrors of close combat, you will find in the filth of the underground hospital bunkers of Dien Bien Phu, Major Doctor Paul Grauwin and his devoted associates, facing overwhelming challenges as they work around the clock caring for the wounded and the dying from both sides. And you won't be able to forget the air ambulance nurse Geneviève who volunteered to stay behind in the doomed camp and work unceasingly to treat the wounded and comfort the dying, and was rewarded with her country's highest military honours.


Other Military Literature and Memoirs

Other Books by Raymond Souster