My eighth book, The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War will be published by Knopf in May 2020. It will shock readers who thought they understood that tragic war and believed that Canada had nothing or little to do with it. In fact, Canada was intricly involved as it tested who Canadians were and what we stood for. Thousands of Canadians continue to be touched by the war. It is available to be pre-ordered through Chapters and Amazon.
Forty-five years after the fall of Saigon, John Boyko brings to light the little-known story of Canada’s involvement in the American War in Vietnam.
Through the lens of six remarkable people, some well-known, others obscure, bestselling historian John Boyko recounts Canada’s often-overlooked involvement in that conflict as peacemaker, combatant, and provider of weapons and sanctuary.
When Brigadier General Sherwood Lett arrived in Vietnam over a decade before American troops, he and the Canadians under his command risked their lives trying to enforce an unstable peace while questioning whether they were merely handmaidens to a new war. As American battleships steamed across the Pacific, Canadian diplomat Blair Seaborn was meeting secretly in Hanoi with North Vietnam’s prime minister; if Seaborn American leaders accepted his roadmap to peace, those ships could be turned around before war began. Claire Culhane worked in a Canadian hospital in Vietnam and then returned home to implore Canadians to stop supporting what she deemed an immoral war. Joe Erickson was among 30,000 young Americans who changed Canada by evading the draft and heading north; Doug Carey was among 20,000 Canadians who enlisted with the American forces to serve in Vietnam. Rebecca Trinh and her family fled Saigon and joined the waves of desperate Indochinese refugees, thousands of whom forged new lives in Canada. Through these wide-ranging and fascinating accounts, Boyko exposes what he calls the Devil’s wiliest trick: convincing leaders that war is desirable, the public that it’s acceptable and combatants that what they are doing and seeing is normal, or at least necessary. In uncovering Canada’s side of the story, he reveals the many secret and forgotten ways that Canada not only fought the war but was shaped by its lessons and lies.