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Prophylactic Talk

by
August 2004, no. 263

Shockwave: An Australian combat helicopter crew in Vietnam by Peter Haran

New Holland, $19.95 pb, 212 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Flashback: Echoes from a hard war by Peter Haran and Robert Kearney

New Holland, $24.95 pb, 237 pp

Prophylactic Talk

by
August 2004, no. 263

War stories are never extrinsic to war. The us-and-them plots, domino theories and governing metaphors, the operational jargon and vast naming schemes, even the post-hoc synopses (we won, we should have won, another win like that and we’re finished): these are not patterns laid over something real; they stream from the enabling code.

Between 1966 and 1971 the Australian Task Force Vietnam administered its own war in Phuoc Tuy, a province south-east of Saigon. The Australians had their own allocation of enemy (D445 local guerrilla battalion and elements of the NVA 5th Division), their own style (US gear and fire-support, Vietnamese patrol tactics) and, of course, their own story. They were the latest Anzacs. Right?

Josh Wilson reviews three books

Shockwave: An Australian combat helicopter crew in Vietnam

by Peter Haran

New Holland, $19.95 pb, 212 pp

Book 2 Cover Small (400 x 600)

Flashback: Echoes from a hard war

by Peter Haran and Robert Kearney

New Holland, $24.95 pb, 237 pp

From the New Issue

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