From the Trenches: The Best Anzac Writing of World War One
Viking, $39.99 hb, 430 pp, 9780670077816
Mark Dapin’s anthology, From the Trenches, is a timely but not opportunistic book. At more than 400 pages, it is long enough to suggest the sheer scale of the war and its centrality to European (if not world) history ever since. It samples all the relevant genres (letters, memoir, journalism, fiction, poetry) and offers a multiplicity of viewpoints (senior ranks, subalterns, NCOs, privates, and nurses). The book is not simplistically pro- or anti-war, but its overall message is unmistakable. The whole enterprise was a huge and bloody mistake, stupidly prolonged by inadequate politicians for more than four years.