Losing History


I was reading a competitors book over the weekend on Roman Centurions where it was pointed out that we don’t know the rules governing promotions and the like.  [1]  Presumably the historians that wrote things down either believed that their audiences didn’t care about such things or for that matter already would’ve known them. Which causes a problem trying to reconstruct things from the limited evidence we have.

I think there’s a perception that especially today information is infinite. Where politicians and even sometimes private citizens will have their innermost thoughts and often feelings dumped out over social media for all the world to point and laugh at. But we forget just how vital it is to have primary sources. Think of all those Canadians who served in the second world war for instance. How many of them wrote memoirs? How many firefights, Atlantic convoys or bombing runs over Germany have only been written about once or twice? Yes perhaps by absolutely no one. A line in the war diary or notation on a casualty sheet is all

This is not to slight secondary sources far from it. But without those sources so much of history would simply be markers moving back-and-forth on a map. Without any context. Showing what bravery duty and sacrifice was required. It would be something that we as historians would be impoverished without.

What you can do

Maybe you served and have taken the time to write something about your experiences. We would love to hear from you. Then again you may have a family member, friend or colleague who you know served please let them know that we are here and we are interested. Take a look at our submission guidelines page. It would be terrible to lose anymore history.

1.Raffaele D’Amato, Roman Centurions 753-31 BC : the kingdom and the Age of Consuls (Oxford, Osprey Publishing, 2011), Kindle edition. chap. Career and Status


Link Roundup for May 4th 2015 

Here are this weeks interesting links.

Centennial  commemorations of the  Battle of Gorlice.  The Eastern front of WWI is one of those areas that I’m weaker on. So it’s always good to come across stuff like this.

John McCrae’s In Flanders Fields was written on May 3RD 1915. Generations of Canadian schoolchildren can probably recite bits and pieces of it.  Technology was used to connect Canadian and Belgian schoolchildren. A statue was also unveiled. Notice the mistake in the article. Gas was first used in the East.

Link Roundup for April 27th 2015 

This past week there were two major stories. The commemoration of the Gallipoli landing and the centennial of the start of the Armenian genocide.. Here’s what jumped out.

Unfortunately most of the coverage of the genocide has been preoccupied with the current debate. Fortunately there have been a few articles that delve deeper into the history of the events. For example this piece from the BBC.

Over on the Gallipoli peninsula,  Thousands gather at dawn ceremony to mark Gallipoli centenary  This article about Australia’s role in the Pacific during WWI was something that I hadn’t Heard about. One of the hopes with our publishing program is to bring to light these lesser-known campaigns.

The iron harvest we often hear about in relation to northwest Europe. However it’s amazing to think just where unexploded ordinance can be found like  on a New Jersey college campus.

First World War Centennial Links April 20th 2015

So many events, commemorations and  stories are coming out since it’s the centennial of the First World War. It can be hard to keep track of everything. Here are  a few links that caught our attention in the last week or so. 

Queen honors Calgary Highlanders, Royal Hamilton Light Infantry and the Canadian Scottish Regiments. This is part of ceremonies for the Second Battle of Ypres. 

New Zealand exhibition opens. Looks fascinating particularly Peter Jackson’s involvement how technology is integrated with the artifacts.  

Every year around this time  poll results are released by the Vimy Foundation  discussin Canadians engagement with our military history. Here are this years numbers. Renaming the $20? 

And finally in more museum news, Lethbridge Military Museum opens  When doing research for trips it’s often smaller museums like this that have some of the most unusual artifacts. Hopefully they’ll have an online presence shortly.

From WWi

The Christmas Truce and Historical Coverage

First of all a Merry Christmas and happy new year to all. The centenary of the Christmas Truce of 1914 is naturally in the news right now. While Canadian units were not involved it has brought up an interesting question. Why is their cultural memory about certain events and not about others?

Christmas Truce

For the Christmas Truce, it probably has something to do with the traditional view of WWI as an annihilation of a generation to little purpose. There is an often quoted line about lions led by donkeys; laying aside whether or not this is accurate and has sparked debate amongst historians in the last couple of decades. The events also make for a good story. Humanity even between combatants.

As for the wider question as a publisher, one of the things we consider as we look at areas to publish is the balance between what is popular and what is militarily relevant. Sometimes these are the same. It’s hard to underestimate the impact of say Waterloo on 19 century European and therefore world history. What about an example that’s less clear cut?


Compare the Battle of Gettysburg and fall of Vicksburg from the American Civil War. Many more books have been written about Gettysburg. Some of this naturally has to do with the wealth of primary material to go on. Which one was more militarily significance? If the second invasion of the north hadn’t been launched at all would the North still would’ve triumphed after seizing the Mississippi? In all likelihood yes it would have simply made Grant’s movement South even bloodier. The only way Gettysburg becomes more significant is in an alternate history scenario. The Army of the Potomac is defeated, leading to the capture of Washington or enough of a disruption to the northern government and economy to demand piece negotiations.

So where does this leave us as a publisher? Simply put, we’re happy to consider both possibilities. However, if a work is going to go over well tilled soil, we are looking for something different. This can be on a level of analysis or use of unexploited sources.

The Great Image Hunt

When discussing the website with the developers a question that quickly came up was one of images.  Since military actions are invariably newsworthy and important for government propaganda, one thing we do have is plenty of photographs.  Even when the existing technology wasn’t that good, images still were created.  Just think how much better most people’s cell phones could have captured the American civil war, even if they’re using a black and white filter.

So we needed some images.  That should be easy enough considering that the Internet is full of them.

Well, not so fast. 

There were couple of requirements, first of which was whether or not we could use the images without acquiring some sort of a license, or whether they were in the public domain. The second priority would be that they would be relevant to Canadian military history, and naturally portray the sort of image we want for the web site. How was it best to accomplish this? The Internet has plenty of search engines and tools to find images.  It quickly became apparent that the more user-friendly the website, the less metadata came along with the files.  On the other hand, the organizations, both government and private, that often have physical control of the images often have less than helpful search engines attached to them.

Accuracy is something very important to us.  We didn’t just want to use information secondhand about a particular image.  So it was important to get as close to those responsible for creating an image as possible.  Luckily, some of the images did have citations linking back to where they were first put online.  Gathering those together, we have included them in the PDF linked at the bottom of each web page.  It consists of the citation, an example of the image, as well as text confirming its copyright status.  If you have any other information about the images, feel free to use the contact form to let us know and we’ll make updates or corrections as necessary.

From WWi

Welcome to the Blog

This is the first of many posts to the Lammi Publishing blog.  After months of planning and discussion, the website has been launched. Thanks to our excellent web development team for helping us get off the ground, taking our general ideas and transforming them into what you’re reading.

Keep watching this space. Soon we will have some news about our first set of titles, as well as our future publishing plans. We want to be responsive to your needs as readers of Canadian military history. If there’s a topic that you feel is not being covered currently, please let us know.

If you’re an author, please take a look at are submission guidelines as well as our submission form.  We’re always excited to hear from authors, whether they are previously published or new voices looking to share their passion for the topic.