Colin Golvan reviews 'Australia's Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s' by Stuart Macintyre

Colin Golvan reviews 'Australia's Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s' by Stuart Macintyre

Australia’s Boldest Experiment: War and Reconstruction in the 1940s

by Stuart Macintyre

NewSouth, $34.99 pb, 608 pp, 9781742231129

What is it about wars and the military that produce so much innovation and capacity? This a big and bold book which takes the contemporary collective awareness of Australia's wartime efforts on the battlefield and reflects on the building of the country on the back of the victory in 1945. It also invites the question of how best we can address the imperatives of building social infrastructure.

1939 was a watershed year in a number of ways. As Stuart Macintyre explains, the nation was in continuing decline following the Depression of the late 1920s (with nine per cent unemployment), and was faced with yet another major war on top of the terrible losses in World War I. On the backing of Britain's declaration of support in the face of the threat from an expansionist Japan, Australia committed to assist in the defence of Britain and reluctantly entered yet another European war.

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Published in April 2016, no. 380
Colin Golvan

Colin Golvan

Colin Golvan is a Queen's Counsel at the Victorian Bar, and author of plays staged by the Melbourne Theatre Company and Playbox Theatre.

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