The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia by Christina Twomey

Reviewed by
August 2018, no. 403
Carolyn Holbrook reviews 'The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia' by Christina Twomey

The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia

by Christina Twomey

NewSouth, $39.99 pb, 320 pp, 9781742235684

The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia by Christina Twomey

Reviewed by
August 2018, no. 403

The director of the Australian War Memorial, Brendan Nelson, recently announced plans for a $500 million underground expansion of the memorial. In justifying the expenditure, Nelson claimed that commemoration ‘is an extremely important part of the therapeutic milieu’ for returning soldiers; ‘I’ve particularly learned from the Vietnam experience it is important to tell the stories and tell them now. We tell them broadly and deeply and we don’t wait a decade.’

Christina Twomey’s new book, The Battle Within, traces the experiences of a group of returning soldiers who had to wait a lot longer than a decade to have their stories told. It was not until the 1980s that prisoners of the Japanese during World War II were invited into the temple of Anzac. Twomey uses the metaphor of the Thai–Burma railway, which she first saw as a twelve-year-old in 1980 and revisited in 2012, to describe their passage from exile to the increasingly elaborate centre of Anzac commemoration:

Carolyn Holbrook reviews 'The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia' by Christina Twomey

The Battle Within: POWs in postwar Australia

by Christina Twomey

NewSouth, $39.99 pb, 320 pp, 9781742235684

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.