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John Connor

John Connor is a senior lecturer in history in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at UNSW Canberra. His books include The Australian Frontier Wars 1788–1838 (2002), which was shortlisted for the Royal United Services Institute’s Westminster Medal for Military Literature, Anzac and Empire: George Foster Pearce and the Foundations of Australian Defence (2011) and the ‘Politics’ chapters of The War at Home, co-authored with Peter Stanley and Peter Yule, as part of the five-volume Centenary History of Australia and the Great War (2014–16).

John Connor reviews 'A River Kwai Story: The Sonkrai Tribunal' by Robin Rowland and 'The Men of the Line: Stories of the Thai–Burma railway survivors' by Pattie Wright

June 2008, no. 302 01 June 2008
These two books on the building of the Thai–Burma railway in World War II are very different in format and tone. Australian film-maker Patti Wright’s Men of the Line is an exquisitely designed collection of stories and images by Australian prisoners of war who were forced to build the railway for their Japanese captors. Wright describes her book as ‘a tribute to the ex-POWs who experienced t ... (read more)

John Connor reviews 'Australian Battalion Commanders in the Second World War' by Garth Pratten

October 2009, no. 315 01 October 2009
Do not be put off by this book’s bland title. In a country that has placed the Anzac Legend at the centre of its national identity, Australian Battalion Commanders in the Second World War is a profoundly subversive book. Cherished ideas of the Australian army as an egalitarian institution and of Australians as natural soldiers whose setbacks can always be blamed on the failings of others (genera ... (read more)

John Connor reviews 'Soldier Boy: The True Story of Jim Martin the Youngest Anzac' by Anthony Hill

May 2001, no. 230 01 May 2001
Anthony Hill begins his biography of Jim Martin by describing Martin’s death. Beginning the story of a person’s life by going straight to the end is unusual but wholly appropriate in this case because Jim Martin’s fame lies solely in the fact that his death at the age of fourteen, at Gallipoli, makes him the youngest known Australian soldier ever to die in a war. At first, it would seem imp ... (read more)

John Connor reviews 'Frontier Conflict: The Australian experience' edited by Bain Attwood and S.G. Foster

April 2003, no. 250 11 October 2022
How violent was the Australian frontier? At the moment, this is the biggest debate in Australian history. As most would know, the question has gained national attention largely through the efforts of Keith Windschuttle who, in four Quadrant articles in 2000 and 2001, argued, among other things, that historians had inflated the numbers of Aborigines killed on the Australian frontier and that the Na ... (read more)