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David Horner

David Horner

David Horner is emeritus professor of Australian defence history in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre, Australian National University. Author or editor of some thirty-five books on military history, defence, and intelligence, he is the Official Historian of Australian Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post-Cold War Operations, and also Official Historian of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO). The first volume of the ASIO history, The Spy Catchers, was joint winner of the 2015 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for History.

David Horner reviews 'The Young Menzies: Success, failure, resilience 1894–1942', edited by Zachary Gorman

March 2023, no. 451 23 February 2023
Robert Menzies retired as prime minister more than fifty-three years ago and died in 1978, yet he remains not just a dominant figure in Australian political history but a strong influence on modern political affairs. As Zachary Gorman, editor of this latest book on Menzies, argues, ‘it has become almost a cliché to say that he built or at least shaped and moulded modern Australia’. He created ... (read more)

David Horner reviews 'The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (Second Edition)' edited by Peter Dennis et al.

February 2009, no. 308 01 February 2009
In his famous but tendentious 1989 essay ‘The End of History’, the American political scientist Francis Fukuyama argued that ‘we may be witnessing ... not just the end of the Cold War, or the passing of a particular period of post-war history, but the end of history’. A similar proposition might well have been made about Australian military history. By 1989 the great era of Australian mili ... (read more)

David Horner reviews 'Fighting the People’s War: The British and Commonwealth armies and the Second World War' by Jonathan Fennell

May 2020, no. 421 28 April 2020
In its long war in Afghanistan, Australia lost forty-one soldiers. These deaths were felt keenly, and usually the prime minister, other senior politicians, and army chiefs attended the funerals. In addition, more than 260 soldiers were wounded. Service in Afghanistan was trying and demanding. Yet, while Special Forces units were constantly rotated through numerous deployments, at any particular ti ... (read more)

David Horner reviews 'Australia and the Vietnam War' by Peter Edwards

June–July 2014, no. 362 28 May 2014
In 1966 as a young first-year cadet at the Royal Military College, I purchased Anzac to Amiens by C.E.W. Bean, which had been published twenty years earlier. Bean had been Australia’s Official Historian for World War I, and Anzac to Amiens was his masterly condensation of the twelve-volume official history of which he had been the general editor and principal author. It was to be many years befo ... (read more)