search : contact us : about us : site guide : home

  University of British Columbia Press
 Search Our Catalogue
  search by subject

 UBC Press
About UBC Press
Conferences & Events
Contact Us
Media Centre
Publishing With UBC Press
Publishers Represented
Staff Directory

Forthcoming Titles
How To Order
Recent Reviews
Review Copies

 Join Our Mailing List
Sign Up
Privacy Statement
Frequent Questions
Privacy Statement
Site Guide
Website Feedback

 Featured Title
From Victoria to Vladivostok
Canada’s Siberian Expedition, 1917-19
Benjamin Isitt  

$87.00 Hardcover
Release Date: 5/1/2010
ISBN: 9780774818018    

$34.95 Paperback
Release Date: 11/1/2010
ISBN: 9780774818025    

352 Pages

Studies in Canadian Military History series


About the Book

As the last guns sounded on the Western Front, 4,200 Canadian soldiers, some of them conscripts, travelled from Victoria to Vladivostok to open a new theatre of war in Siberia. Part of the Allied intervention in Russia’s civil war, the force sought to defeat Bolshevism, but grim conditions, conflict among the Allies, and local opposition eventually forced Canada to evacuate the troops.

This ground-breaking book brings to life a forgotten chapter in the history of Canada and Russia. Combining military and labour history with the social history of British Columbia, Québec, and Russia, Benjamin Isitt examines how the Siberian Expedition exacerbated tensions within Canadian society at a time when a radicalized working class, many French-Canadians, and even the soldiers themselves objected to Canada’s military adventure designed to alter the outcome of the Russian Revolution.

Military historians have tended to write off the Siberian Expeditionary Force as a mere sideshow, an embarrassing episode in the larger context of the First World War. By bringing the story of the expedition to centre stage, Benjamin Isitt illuminates a forgotten chapter in the history of labour radicalism and the complex factors that have shaped foreign policy. The result is a highly readable and provocative work that challenges public memory of the First World War.

Published in association with the Canadian War Museum.

Please visit the Siberian Expedition Virtual Exhibition and Digital Archive - This interactive website created by historian Benjamin Isitt and the University of Victoria's Humanities Computing & Media Centre is fully trilingual (English, French and Russian), inviting visitors to explore the story, learning resources, and 2,200 photographs and documents in a searchable digital archive.


About the Author(s)

Benjamin Isitt is a historian specializing in twentieth-century Canadian and world history, with an emphasis on labour, social movements, and the process of political change.

Table of Contents


Introduction: Why Siberia?

Part 1: Canada’s Road to Siberia
1) 1917: A Breach in the Allied Front
2) Vladivostok: 1917
3) The Road to Intervention
4) Mobilization
5) Departure Day

Part 2: To Vladivostok and Back
6) Vladivostok: 1919
7) "Up Country" and Evacuation
8) Afterword




"Now the Vladivostok story can be known in detail from the excellent research of Benjamin Isitt, in his new book From Victoria to Vladivostok: Canada’s Siberian Expedition, 1917-19, a fascinating and wide-ranging account."
- Stephen Osborne, Geist 81, Summer 2011

“While there have been other writings dedicated to Canada’s ‘Siberian Adventure,’ none are so ambitious in scope and content as Benjamin Isitt’s well-researched investigation.
- Timothy Winegard, Journal of Military History

The story of 4,200 Canadian soldiers sailing from British Columbia to the Russian Far East is told in From Victoria to Vladivostok, a fascinating account by the historian Benjamin Isitt.
- Tom Hawthorn, Mutiny Suppressed, a Siberian Expedition Goes Bust, Globe and Mail

"Benjamin Isitt’s fascinating study of the Canadian contribution to the military expedition to Siberia designed to crush Lenin’s nascent Communist state punches a large hole in how much of Canada’s chattering class conceives of the country."
- Nathan M. Greenfield, Times Literary Supplement Review

Short, inglorious, hugely unpopular at the time and largely forgotten now: most Canadians probably have no idea that, once upon a time, this country invaded Russia...Isitt’s extensive analysis of why we were there—mostly trying to deprive revolutionary workers at home of an international beacon—is convincing, as is his ironic conclusion: the blatant class warfare of the expedition did more to incite radicalism at home than it did to suppress it in Russia. Less than six months after the Victoria mutiny, a rising tide of industrial unionism would spark the Winnipeg General Strike.
- Brian Bethune,

Isitt’s work is new, innovative, and important. He deftly weaves the Canadian working class opposition to war and the rising leftist sentiment among workers with the inner life of the Siberian Expedition itself ... No less important, he melds a national story with an international one. He reveals new aspects of international cooperation in the attempt to suppress the Bolshevik revolution as well as international rivalries among the countries that intervened in Russia.
-- Larry Hannant, editor of The Politics of Passion: Norman Bethune’s Writing and Art

From Victoria to Vladivostok sheds new light on a part of Canadian history that previous scholars have written off as a mere sideshow, a rather embarrassing episode that had no impact on the First World War. In contrast, Isitt sees the problems that befell the Expedition as being rooted in conflicting views of Bolshevism in Canada, and different perceptions of the logic behind an intervention in Russia. In this, his contribution is both significant and original.
-- Jonathan Vance, author of Unlikely Soldiers: How Two Canadians Fought the Secret War against Nazi Occupation

"At a time where our mission in Afghanistan is evolving, and leaders come to grips with the 'Afghanization' of the military effort there; and, where the future of Canada’s and the international community's involvement in Libya is being widely discussed ..., this book highlights many lessons
concerning strategic objectives, one being military intervention, and the necessity for public support for same. Highly recommended."
-- Colonel Peter J. Williams, Canadian Army Journal

Sample Chapter

Front Matter and Chapter One

Related Topics

History > Military
History > Canada
History > Other

Other Ways To Order

In Canada, order your copy of From Victoria to Vladivostok from UTP Distribution at:

UTP Distribution
5201 Dufferin Street
Toronto, Ontario
M3H 5T8

Phone orders: 1(800)565-9523 or (416)667-7791
Fax orders: 1(800)221-9985 or (416)667-7832

Ordering information for customers outside Canada

© 2001 UBC Press
2029 West Mall, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, V6T 1Z2
t. 604.822.5959 | f. 604.822.6083 | e.
Vancouver Web Design by Internet-Exposure