Reviews – Sailors

“Exceptional… The strength is in the writing. The book unfolds like a novel, alive with the voices of the people who lived through the riots, as Kimber smoothly pulls the anal-retentive polite mask off the Canadian face. The streets of Halifax will be forever changed if you read this book. There will be ghosts on every corner.”

— Christy Ann Conlin The Coast
December 5, 2002

“Kimber, one of Atlantic Canada’s best journalists and dean of the highly regarded School of Journalism at the University of King’s College, writes with style and colour the first major report on how the Second World War forever changed Halifax… Excellent account of the infamous Halifax riots of V-E Day.”

— John Harbron
Globe and Mail
November 10, 2002

“An absorbing portrait of the effects of World War II on the port of Halifax, which climaxed in ‘the biggest drunk in all Canadian history’ on and after VE Day. …The author manages to plumb the emotions of his sources. Reaching into the lives of those who remember the events vividly, he knots his tapestry of mayhem and madness expertly and laces it with wartime romances … an excellent read.”

— Toronto Star
November 10, 2002

“Stephen Kimber has written a lively, layered social history… He brings to this very human tale of blunders, suspicion and disastrous misunderstandings a reporter’s instincts, an insider’s knowledge and a storyteller’s eye for poignant, sprightly and telling detail.”

— Jeanie MacFarlane
Canadian Georgraphic Magazine
Nov-Dec 2002

“Endlessly fascinating… Kimber’s recreation of the war years in Nova Scotia’s capital—the crowding, the gouging, the shortages — leads up an incident he feels has been downplayed by history, the V-E Day riots that tore Halifax apart in May 1945.”

— Bill Spurr
Halifax Chronicle Herald
Oct. 27, 2002

“Journalist Stephen Kimber has done a fine job of recreating the Halifax of the Second World War. He focuses on individuals — children, lovers, servicemen, a madam — and ties their stories together into a breezy, absorbing chronicle… Kimber has told Halifax’s story well.”

— J. L. Granatstein
Historian, Author
Quill and Quire
November 2002

“Stephen Kimber illuminates this violent episode — and the previous six years filled with German U-boats, housing shortages, rationing, archaic liquor laws, and line-ups around the block for the local brothel — in a powerful narrative told through the voices of those who actually lived through it. … The narrative [offers] a lively and intimate immediacy that captures life in the most important North American port during WWII.”

— Craig Silverman

“An engrossing new book, Sailors, Slackers and Blind Pigs: Halifax at War, by Halifax author and journalist Stephen Kimber revisits life in the wartime city through the true stories of several characters… Kimber uses the tools of a novelist — characters, plot, scenes and drama — to tell the story.”

— Sandy MacDonald
Halifax Daily News
Oct. 18, 2002

“In his latest — and best — book, Kimber speads such a rich smorgasbord of memories before readers, it’s hard to know where to start the feast.”

— Brian Flemming
Halifax Daily News
Oct. 16, 2002

“Stephen Kimber’s latest, and, I believe, greatest, effort to date, Sailors, Slackers and Blind Pigs… All can welcome Kimber’s ability to weave a tale… By drawing on his interviews with locals who can recall the days when Halifax was awash in the danger and drama of those times in a way no other city in Canada was, and through his extensive use of archival material, Kimber covers the war years in this East Coast port through the perspective of local personalities… These characters give us a living picture of the times. Kimber thereby effectively sets the stage for the focus of the book: a valiant and, to my knowledge, first-ever literary attempt to make real the birth of the Canadian Navy, its spectacular contribution to the Battle of the Atlantic and the pivotal role Halifax played in that birth… With his criss-crossing of narrative and careful research, Kimber has given Haligonians, Nova Scotians and all Canadians a history of events as they can finally be agreed upon…”

— David Bentley
National Post
Oct. 12, 2002

“I took Stephen Kimber’s account of the Halifax riot of 1945 away with me for the weekend and I want to report how much I enjoyed it… In short, I was delighted by the book.”

— Desmond Morton
Historian, author
A Military History of Canada: From Champlain to Kosovo

“…As Stephen Kimber’s absorbing Sailors, Slackers and Blind Pigs (Doubleday) proves, the 48-hour riot that broke out after Germany surrendered still makes for a remarkable story.”

— Maclean’s Magazine
Sept. 30, 2002

“…Sailors, Slackers, and Blind Pigs (Doubleday Canada), by Stephen Kimber, promises to be one of the top books this fall… Revealing research and a story-teller’s gift make this history spellbinding.”

— From the Halifax Sunday Herald
Sept. 22, 2002