MacMillan, Daniel. War on the Home Front: The Farm Diaries of Daniel MacMillan, 1914-1927. Fredericton, N.B.: Goose Lane Editions, 2006. 112 p.
Daniel MacMillan never saw the battlefields of Passchendaele or Vimy Ridge. A farmer in the tiny New Brunswick community of Williamsburg, he experienced the Great War entirely from the “home front.” War on the Home Front: The Farm Diaries of Daniel MacMillan, 1914-1927 is a portrait of the other side of war from the perspective of a man who, like countless families across North America, had no choice but keep on going with his life as sons, nephews, brothers and fathers fought and died on battlefields worlds away. As MacMillan’s moving wartime diaries reveal, these years took a terrible toll on him, his family, his farm, and his community. A fascinating chronicle of wartime life, Daniel MacMillan expressed the fear, anxiety and uncertainty as well as the sense of duty and fortitude that characterized the war experience on an individual level, making the tragic four-year event much clearer in diary form than in second-hand reports. His insider’s account of supplying money, men, equipment, and especially food for the country and the troops documents the often unnoticed sacrifices of rural people in wartime and their post-war struggles to recover. The diary is also a testament to the loyalty of the people of Stanley parish, who mobilized the churches, women’s groups and other institutions to provide aid to the troops overseas, the Red Cross and other war-related issues. A unique historical document, War on the Home Front encompasses entries written between 1914 and 1927 in which MacMillan describes the hardships of running a farm in the face of acute labour shortages and the anguish of losing friends and neighbours in battle.