The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War

The Devil’s Trick will be my eighth book. It will be published by Penguin Random House – Knopf on April 13, 2021.

Through the lens of six remarkable people, some well-known, others obscure, The Devil’s Trick recounts Canada’s often-overlooked involvement in the Vietnam War as peacemaker, combatant, and provider of weapons and sanctuary.


When Brigadier General Sherwood Lett arrived in Vietnam over a decade before American troops, he and the Canadians under his command risked their lives trying to enforce an unstable peace while questioning whether they were merely handmaidens to a new war. As American battleships steamed across the Pacific, Canadian diplomat Blair Seaborn was meeting secretly in Hanoi with North Vietnam’s prime minister; if American leaders accepted his roadmap to peace, those ships could be turned around before war began. Claire Culhane worked in a Canadian hospital in Vietnam and then returned home to implore Canadians to stop supporting with weapon sales and silence what she deemed an immoral war. Joe Erickson was among 30,000 young Americans who changed Canada by evading the draft and heading north; Doug Carey was among 20,000 Canadians who enlisted with the American forces to serve in Vietnam. Rebecca Trinh and her family fled Saigon and joined the waves of desperate Indochinese refugees, thousands of whom forged new lives in Canada.

Through these wide-ranging and fascinating accounts, the book exposes the Devil’s wiliest trick: convincing leaders that war is desirable, the public that it’s acceptable, and combatants that what they are doing and seeing is normal, or at least necessary. In uncovering Canada’s side of the story, The Devil’s Trick reveals the many secret and forgotten ways that Canada not only fought the war but was shaped by its lessons and lies.

The Devil’s Trick: How Canada Fought the Vietnam War may be ordered through your local book stores, Amazon, or the Chapter’s and Penguin Random House links below.

https://www.penguinrandomhouse.ca/books/606438/the-devils-trick-by-john-boyko/9780735278004

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/the-devils-trick-how-canada/9780735278004-item.html

My publicist, Shona Cook, is now arranging interviews and more and can be contacted at scook@penguinrandomhouse.com

This is my interview with TVO’s Steve Paikin about The Devil’s Trick