Soldiers for Sale: German “Mercenaries” with the British in Canada during the American Revolution, 1776–83
Support Canada's History in other ways (more)
by Jean-Pierre Wilhelmy
Baraka Books, Montreal, 2011
296 pp., illus., $29.95 paperback
For most genealogists, uncovering a new nugget of family lore that adds a branch or two to their family tree is cause for satisfaction. Occasionally, though, they strike the motherlode, adding new chapters to the history of our nation.
Such is the case with Jean-Pierre Wilhelmy, the French-Canadian author and historian with the decidedly non-French last name, who, growing up surrounded by Bouchards, Tremblays, and Gagnons, was curious about his own ancestry. His sleuthing lead to new information about German mercenary units that fought for Britain during the American war of revolution — particularly about the soldiers who chose to stay behind and make a life in Canada and Quebec after the war.
His book is a must for those with similar ancestry. However, the presentation of Soldiers for Sale is somewhat weakened because Wilhelmy doubled as the book’s illustrator and, sadly, art isn’t his forte. As well, some of the maps are a bit blurry, making them difficult to read. But if you’re interested in early Canadian history — and especially if your last name is Albus, Koch, or Ziegler — then this is a book for you.
This review appeared in the August-September 2012 issue of Canada's History magazine.
— Mark Reid (Read bio)
Mark Reid is the Editor-in-Chief of Canada's History.