The title of this new book on the Vietnam War comes from the final verse cycle of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1869). As Arthur lies dying, he reflects ‘that we / Shall never more ... Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds’. This Arthurian borrowing for the title of a book about an obscure battle fought by Australians in Vietnam during the 1968 Tet Offensive is not overweening. That infamous year, the war’s ubiquity on television gave the conflict a frisson of newness that coincided with political upheavals in Europe and with the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and Robert F. Kennedy. Vietnam was not the first of the new wars; it was the last of the old wars. Gerard Windsor’s Arthurian title is both poignant and entirely apt.
Knightly deeds in Vietnam
All Day Long the Noise of Battle: An Australian Attack in Vietnam
by Gerard Windsor
Pier 9, $29.99 pb, 254 pp, 9781741969184
If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.
Elisabeth Holdsworth won the inaugural Calibre Essay Prize in 2007 for her essay ‘An Die Nachgeborenen: For Those Who Come After’. She was born in the Netherlands and migrated to Australia with her parents in 1959. Educated in Melbourne, she had a long career in the Department of Defence. Her most recent novel is Those Who Come After (Picador, 2011).
By this contributor
Leave a comment
Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.
NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to email@example.com. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.