Desert of imagination

Desert Boys: Australians at War from Beersheba to Tobruk and El Alamein

by Peter Rees

Allen & Unwin, $49.99 hb, 768 pp, 9781741142921

Craig Wilcox

Craig Wilcox

Craig Wilcox is a military historian. His most recent scholarly book is Red Coat Dreaming: How Colonial Australia


Where would Australian publishers and bookshops be without popular military history? Door-stoppers with their green-and-brown dust jackets that shout ‘epic’ and ‘Anzac’, ‘hell’ and ‘tragedy’, might be less lucrative than cooking, diet, and self-help books, but they are up there with cricket memoirs and true crime. Where would we book-buyers be without them? They are a reliable standby when it is time to wrap another birthday or Christmas gift for that uncle, grandfather, or brother-in-law who likes to read and once marched off to war, or who is simply a recognisable product of that lost world that once did such things.

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Published in April 2012 no. 340