Accessibility Tools

  • Content scaling 100%
  • Font size 100%
  • Line height 100%
  • Letter spacing 100%

Martin Ball

Martin Ball is a Melbourne reviewer.

Martin Ball reviews ‘Eyewitness: Australians write from the front-line’ edited by Garrie Hutchinson

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
It is one of life’s ironies that war can bring out the best in people, and writers are no exception. Picture Australian seaman Ray Parkin as he toiled like a slave for the Japanese on the Thai–Burma railway during World War II. Despite the brutality and privations, Parkin felt that the experience would ‘not be entirely wasted’ if he could somehow get his diary and drawings home when it was ... (read more)

Martin Ball reviews 'The Great War' by Les Carlyon

December 2006–January 2007, no. 287 01 December 2006
After the phenomenal success of his Gallipoli (2001), Les Carlyon has turned his attention to the experience of Australian soldiers on the western front in the years 1916–18. Carlyon’s purpose in The Great War is clear: he wants to expand the national gaze that is transfixed on the military exploits at Anzac Cove, to include the lesser-known stories of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in Fr ... (read more)

Martin Ball reviews 'Make It Australian: The Australian Performing Group, the Pram Factory and New Wave theatre' by Gabrielle Wolf

June 2008, no. 302 01 June 2008
The Australian Performing Group (APG) and its associated theatre space, the Pram Factory, form one of the legends of Australian theatre. And like all legends, the stories that people tell of it inevitably conflate the truth of what it actually was – or wasn’t, as the case may be. Somewhere back in 1969 – or was it 1970? – a group of enthusiastic thespians decided to take on the world (or a ... (read more)

Martin Ball reviews 'Fromelles' by Patrick Lindsay

March 2008, no. 299 01 March 2008
Ninety years after the Great War, the bones of those who died are still rattling the consciences of succeeding generations. Two years ago, there were frantic diplomatic exchanges between Australia and Turkey as the possibility emerged that the remains of Anzacs may have been disturbed as a result of road widening – ironically, to enable contemporary pilgrims to ‘pay their respects’ to those ... (read more)

Martin Ball reviews 'Gallipoli' by Les Carlyon

October 2001, no. 235 16 September 2022
At the end of his big book Gallipoli, Les Carlyon observes that if the campaign made more sense ‘it would be a lesser story’. There’s much in what Carlyon says. The 1915 campaign was insignificant in the scale of the Great War; it achieved nothing, and petered out like a forgotten afterthought. It makes little sense, then or now. It is thus in the intangibles and absurdities of the story, a ... (read more)

Martin Ball reviews 'The Somme' by Robin Prior and Trevor Wilson

August 2005, no. 273 16 October 2019
The Somme – it is a name that still strikes dread in the ears for its carnage, ineptitude and sheer waste of life. For the English-speaking world at least, the battle of the Somme has come to symbolise all that was bad about the Great War in general, and the Western Front in particular. The 141-day battle cost the British Army alone more than 400,000 casualties, including 150,000 men killed. Th ... (read more)