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Jeffrey Grey

Jeffrey Grey is Professor of History at University College, Australian Defence Force Academy.

Jeffrey Grey reviews ‘Australia’s Battlefields in Viet Nam: A traveller’s guide’ by Gary McKay and ‘On the Offensive: The Australian Army in the Vietnam War 1967–1968’ by Ian McNeill and Ashley Ekins

November 2003, no. 256 01 November 2003
For most Australians, certainly for those under the age of forty, ‘Vietnam’ is either an item on school curricula or a slightly off-the-beaten-path tourist destination. History or holiday. This may affront some, especially the small groups on either side of the 1960s cultural and political divide that cannot let go, but it is a sign of a generational shift and of the creation of the distance b ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Forgotten Anzacs: The Campaign in Greece, 1941' by Peter Ewer

June 2008, no. 302 01 June 2008
Forty years ago, the proponents of the ‘new military history’ sought to extend our understanding of war and its impact by looking beyond the battlefield and by considering the social and cultural implications of armies and military activity. In the process, the best work added layer upon layer of complexity and nuance to the study of war in history, but over time it came to seem that this appr ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Invading Australia: Japan and the battle for Australia, 1942' by Peter Stanley

October 2008, no. 305 01 October 2008
Antoine Capet’s pithy observation that commemoration is the continuation of history by other means neatly defines the focus of Peter Stanley’s latest book and the problem that he sets out to grapple with. The recently successful advocacy of a ‘Battle for Australia’ annual commemoration flies in the face of the historical record and the evidence that supports it, but the advocates of the po ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins' by Peter Edwards

May 2006, no. 281 01 May 2006
Arthur Tange joined the Commonwealth Public Service in 1942, at a point in time when it was undergoing ‘a permanent revolution at once in the size, the calibre, the philosophy and the significance’ of what it was and what it did. Most Australians now forget, if they ever knew, just how limited the function and reach of federal government was in the first decades of the Commonwealth. As in so m ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'The Empire Fractures: Anglo-Australian Conflict in the 1940s' by Christopher Waters

April 1996, no. 179 01 April 1996
The central contention of this provocative, well-written, and extensively researched study is that Australia underwent a process of decolonisation during the 1940s, and that only by understanding this can we make sense of the subsequent relationships between Australia, Britain and the United States. The wartime reorientation of Australian affairs away from Britain and towards the United States wa ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Anzacs In Arkhangel: The Untold Story of Australia and the Invasion of Russia 1918-19' by Michael Challinger

July–August 2010, no. 323 01 July 2010
The Great War fractured the Europe of its day, and the ripples of the calamity it represented continued to be felt years after the formal hostilities ended in November 1918. Former combatants carried their experiences throughout the rest of their lives; some found it difficult to ‘let go’, while others who had seen little or nothing of the war at first hand felt compelled for various reasons t ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Nemesis: The battle for Japan, 1944–1945' by Max Hastings

February 2008, no. 298 01 February 2008
Readers of this review will likely know of this book as a result of the howls of outrage reported in the media at the beginning of December concerning Max Hastings’s claims about Australian performance in the fighting in 1945. It is not fair to judge a long and complex book on the basis of a single, ten-page chapter, but since that is the section of the book that has attracted attention in this ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Anzacs, the Media and the Great War' by John F. Williams

July 1999, no. 212 08 September 2021
The myth and reality of the Anzac legend has proven a perennial subject of inquiry and argument for over thirty years now, since the publication of Ken Inglis’s justly famous articles in Meanjin and elsewhere in 1964–65. These prompted a spirited exchange with the late Geoff Serle and others. More recently, John Robertson examined the Gallipoli campaign in terms of the myth (1990), and found t ... (read more)

Jeffrey Grey reviews 'Tobruk' by Peter Fitzsimons

October 2006, no. 285 01 October 2006
Books like this are not written for people like me, and it is only fair to acknowledge that at the outset. ‘Australia’s most beloved popular historian’ (he must be, it says so on the inside flap) actually doesn’t want to be regarded as an historian, but as a storyteller (he says so himself), and so has little or no interest in satisfying the requirements and expectations that a professiona ... (read more)