Archive | February 2015

The Desert Anzacs by Barry Stone

Author Barry Stone has made it his mission in The Desert ANZACs to redress the balance of Australian World War 1 storytelling with his focus on the forgotten conflicts in the deserts of Mesopotamia, North Africa and Palestine.  Recently published by Hardie Grant Books. Details below:

The Desert Anzacs by Barry Stone
RRP $29.95
ISBN 9781742707549


The Ghosts of Roebuck Bay by Ian M Shaw

The Ghosts of Roebuck Bay
The 1942 attack on Broome and its tragic aftermath
By Ian Shaw
Published by Pan MacMillan
RRP $33.00 in paperback
ISBN 9781742612362

I picked this book up from my review bookshelf (it’s overflowing) this afternoon. I then realized this book is by the author who wrote On Radji Beach, one of the saddest books I’ve ever read. I could not imagine how anyone could have perpetrated such a devastating crime on our nurses.

Ian Shaw became interested in this latest story during a holiday in Broome which turned into more of a research trip than a holiday. He was interviewed on The Legacy Hour on Radio Adelaide recently – you can catch up with the interview via this link:

BACKGROUND: The Japanese attack on Broome is the second most deadly air raid on Australia soil in our history and yet it’s almost entirely overlooked. On 3 March 1942, nine Japanese Zero planes strafed the small town planning to destroy the aerodrome and American planes. With no notice, the townsfolk could only put up minimal opposition and in an attack that lasted only an hour, almost one hundred men, women and children lost their lives. Not a single operational aircraft remained in Broome, but the shocking loss of human life can never be truly calculated. The Ghosts of Roebuck Bay tells the story of this tragedy, shining light on a story that has slipped through the cracks of history.

Ian Shaw has laid all that out in the open for Australians and the rest of the world to examine and know. The verdict from the Courier-Mail reviewer: Fascinating. I agree.

New Edition: Semaphore – published by Sea Power Centre, Australia

I’ve just received an email to let me know that the first edition of the Sea Power Centre’s publication Semaphore for 2015 has been released. Semaphore 1: 2015 – The Anzac Centenary – link to the PDF here.  While discussing the RAN involvement in the Gallipoli campaign, this Semaphore also outlines the various anniversaries the RAN will commemorate this year.

Gallipoli Diaries The Anzac’s Own Story By Jonathan King “Centenary Edition”

Gallipoli Diaries: The Anzac’s Own Story
By Jonathan King
ISBN 9781922070913  448pp   RRP: $35.00  Paperback

This book was first published in 2003 by Simon & Schuster (Australia). This edition, published by Scribe, has been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.

Gallipoli, for the average Australian, is the most famous battle that our volunteer soldiers ever fought, because it was our first entry as a nation into the war, and our people were keen to prove themselves. It would be, however, a long time before the families back home, and the nation as a whole, heard of the terrible conditions on the peninsula and the waste of life that took place there. Although Gallipoli was a crushing defeat, it was, and still is, celebrated as a victory.

In his introduction, King talks about having spent time with the last ten veterans of the campaign from the mid 1990s to 2002, when Alec Campbell, the last survivor, passed away. Veteran Fred Kelly really summed up the mistake that was the Gallipoli landing: “It was ridiculous to even attempt to land on the beach because it was so narrow let alone to climb the ridges as they were never ending and exposed to enemy fire.”

King has gathered together an unequalled series of extracts from letters and diaries, written by hundreds of Anzacs at Gallipoli, accounting for every one of the 240 days of the eight-month campaign — and even identifying the actual days of the week. It is these private words that really tell us what Gallipoli was like.

The author, award-winning historian Dr Jonathan King, has produced many books and films about World War I since 1994. He also leads battlefield tours to Gallipoli and the Western Front.

Now in paperback: Monash: The outsider who won a war by Roland Perry

There won’t be many Australian readers unfamiliar with the name Roland Perry. He has published 27 books in a range of genres including biography, politics, espionage, history (WW1 and WW2), sport and fiction.

In military history his notable titles include The Australian Light Horse and the more recent The Fight for Australia (also published as Pacific 360).

This book is a republication of the hardback edition which first appeared in 2004.

Monash’s story is an interesting one; he is a man whom many have judged as the greatest-ever Australian. Author Roland Perry has accessed Monash’s comprehensive letter and diary archive – one of the largest in Australia’s history – to write this engaging story, which former Prime Minister John Howard described as a ‘superb work’.

John Lack, writing in The Age (27/11/2004) offered a critique of the book when it first appeared in hardback in that year. I’ve provided a link here to the review.

Published by William Heinemann Australia RRP $34.99 ISBN 9780857982131

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