What Price Surrender?: A story of the will to survive
Allen & Unwin, 208 pp, $29.95 hb
Mr Jackson’s book narrates his experience and that of a friend as prisoners of the Japanese in Thailand during World War II. It is neither a good nor memorable book, but it does raise, however unintentionally, significant issues. In a nation still bereft of a civil religion, that amalgam of myths and tales of heroes which defines a country’s sense of self and values, the experiences described by Mr Jackson should be honoured.
As 25 April approaches, we face the alarming prospect (the electoral gods willing) of the prime minister weeping on an obscure Turkish beach. There is of course absolutely no reason why Mr Hawke should break the habit of a public lifetime. The anniversary of the Gallipoli landing is however hardly now the most relevant of symbols to anchor the gradually emerging Australian identity.