War is one of the great paradoxes of Australia. Why should a people occupying a continent so far from the world’s trouble spots have spent so much of their history dying in often distant wars? It is one of the questions that drew me to the study of Australian history. I am little the wiser after reading this collection of Australian war writing. This is partly because editor Mark Dapin is intent simply on providing a range of Australian literary responses, and a few not so literary, to the experience of war.
The Penguin Book of Australian War Writing
edited by Mark Dapin
Viking, $39.95 hb, 472 pp, 9780670075522
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David Day has been a junior research fellow at Clare College in Cambridge, a visiting professor at the University of Tokyo and University College Dublin, and a research fellow at La Trobe University, the Australian National University, Churchill College, and the University of Aberdeen. Among his many books, he has written prize-winning biographies of John Curtin, Ben Chifley, and Andrew Fisher; and is currently completing a biography of Paul Keating. His first book was Menzies and Churchill at War.
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