Flesh in Armour
Allen & Unwin, 254 pp, $5.95 pb
Leonard Mann’s account of his experiences in World War One, Flesh in Armour, has recently been reissued. It may be the case that there are certain experiences that are impossible to write about unless one has personally undergone them. The three great Australian classics of World War One – Flesh in Armour, The Middle Parts of Fortune and When the Blackbirds Sing – all convey an air of total verisimilitude when it comes to describing the conditions of battle. In comparison, even such gifted writers as David Malouf and Roger McDonald convey the impression of faking it when they come to write about war, no matter how much care they take or research they have done.