Whitaker, Shelagh 1930–
Whitaker, Shelagh 1930–
(Shelagh Dunwoody Whitaker)
PERSONAL: Born January 23, 1930, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; daughter of James M. (a chartered accountant) and Nora (Bell) Dunwoody; married W. Denis Whitaker (a business executive and author), September 14, 1973 (died May 29, 2001); children: Wendy, Barbara, Martha, Jenifer. Education: Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, B.A., 1951.
ADDRESSES: Home—173 Chartwell Rd., Oakville, Ontario L6J 3Z7, Canada. Agent—Colbert Agency, Inc., 303 Davenport Rd., Toronto, Ontario M5R 1K5, Canada.
CAREER: Shelagh Whitaker and Associates Ltd. (communications consultants), Oakville, Ontario, Canada, president, 1967–.
AWARDS, HONORS: John W. Dafoe Award for best book on Canadian International Affairs, Winnipeg Free Press and the University of Manitoba, 1984, for Tug of War.
(With husband, W. Denis Whitaker) Tug of War: The Allied Victory that Opened Antwerp, Stoddart (Niagara Falls, NY), 1984, 2nd edition, 2000.
(With W. Denis Whitaker) Battle of the Rhineland, Stoddart (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) 1988.
(With W. Denis Whitaker) Dieppe: Tragedy to Triumph, L. Cooper (London, England), 1992.
(With W. Denis Whitaker and Terry Copp) Victory at Falaise: The Soldiers' Story, HarperCollins Publishers (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), 2000.
(With W. Denis Whitaker and Terry Copp) Normandy: The Real Story: How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler, Presidio Press (New York, NY), 2004.
Contributor to magazines and newspapers.
SIDELIGHTS: Shelagh Whitaker collaborated with her late husband, W. Denis Whitaker, on numerous histories of World War II in Europe. Her husband was a highly decorated soldier with the Canadian forces and was very familiar with the European theater of war. In their book Normandy: The Real Story: How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler, the Whitakers and collaborator Terry Copp refuted the notion that German soldiers were somehow more intelligent and better-prepared than their Allied foes. The authors document the initiative and courage shown by numerous Allied soldiers as they struggled to win the war following D-Day. Among other points, they state that the common fighting man in that time and place was poorly equipped and under inferior leadership. Conditions were harsh and terrain hostile. The fact that the battle at Normandy was won under these conditions proves that the everyday soldier was "remarkable," according to Charles M. Minyard in a Library Journal article by Nathan Ward.
Whitaker once told CA: "Prior to Tug of War, the only books written about the Canadian military contribution to the northwestern European campaign of World War II were regimental histories. It was a privilege to write about the Canadian campaign. The book is based on two hundred interviews with its veterans. Our book Battle of the Rhineland glorifies the American, British, and Canadian soldiers who fought and won the war, despite their generals. It underlines the fact that the men of three nations fought together to push the German army across the Rhine to defeat."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 1, 2004, Roland Green, review of Normandy: The Real Story: How Ordinary Allied Soldiers Defeated Hitler, p. 1539.
Library Journal, May 1, 2004, Nathan Ward, review of Normandy, p. 124.
Publishers Weekly, April 12, 2004, review of Normandy, p. 54.
Denis Whitaker Home Page, http://www.deniswhitaker.com (December 13, 2005), profile of Shelagh Whitaker.