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Twofold hero

by
September 2008, no. 304

Arthur Blackburn, VC: An Australian hero, his men and their two world wars by Andrew Faulkner

Wakefield Press, $45 pb, 498 pp

Twofold hero

by
September 2008, no. 304

In the days of the Great Anzac Revival, it is unusual to find an Australian VC who has not been the subject of a biography. Here we have one of the most famous of them all – Arthur Blackburn (1892–1960). I was surprised to find that this is the first biography of him.

He has been well treated by Andrew Faulkner, who has written this book with admirable verve and restraint. The verve obviously came from finding a congenial figure such as Blackburn to write about; he was a soldier who surely deserves the much overworked appellation of ‘hero’. The restraint brought to this labour of love is worthy of note. Faulkner neither claims that Blackburn, nor his Tenth Battalion, nor Australia, won either World War I or II single-handedly. Other authors of recent works on the Australian role in these wars could do worse than read Faulkner’s account to appreciate how heroism and nationalism can be placed in context.

Robin Prior reviews 'Arthur Blackburn, VC: An Australian hero, his men and their two world wars' by Andrew Faulkner

Arthur Blackburn, VC: An Australian hero, his men and their two world wars

by Andrew Faulkner

Wakefield Press, $45 pb, 498 pp

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