The Australian Centenary History of Defence: Vols. I–VII
Oxford University Press
This handsome set of volumes – this ‘library’, it might almost be said – is one of the finest large publishing projects undertaken in Australia over recent years. Dedicated to ‘those who have served in the defence of Australia, 1901–2001’, it is brought triumphantly to a conclusion by the recent issue of its Volume VII, An Atlas of Australia’s Wars. This climactic volume, lying open on your desk, spreads eighty centimetres wide and is a splendidly presented treasury of geographical and logistical information. Now we can make better sense of, for example, the plethora of existing individual unit histories. Many of these (despite their wealth of fine detail and personal information) have baffled our broader understanding. Now we have, set out before us, the land (or the sea, or the airspace) where the fighting took place, and can appreciate reality in a new dimension.