Military History

Seumas Spark reviews 'The Shadow Men: The leaders who shaped the Australian Army from the Veldt to Vietnam' edited by Craig Stockings and John Connor

Seumas Spark
29 August 2017

First, a quibble. In the first paragraph of his introduction, John Connor writes that few Australians could ‘name a significant figure of the Australian Army’, John Monash and Simpson (and his donkey) aside. I am less sure. A generation after his death, Edward ‘Weary’ Dunlop remains a familiar name. Two of the past three governors-general, including the incu ... More

Kevin Foster reviews 'Double Diamonds: Australian commandos in the Pacific War 1941-45' by Karl James

Kevin Foster
21 December 2016

The recent scandal over Facebook’s censorship of Nick Ut’s 1972 photograph of ‘Napalm girl’, Kim Phuc, offers a salutary reminder of photography’s stubborn ...

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Joy Damousi reviews 'Armenia, Australia and the Great War' by Vicken Babkenian and Peter Stanley

Joy Damousi
22 August 2016

The Armenian Genocide, which claimed an estimated 1.5 million lives, began in 1915. It continues to cause controversy today and is a hotly contested event; ...

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Luke Horton reviews 'Another Great Day At Sea' by Geoff Dyer

Luke Horton
30 April 2015

Despite their disparate subject matter, the central concerns of Geoff Dyer’s books remain the same. Whether he is writing about photography, D.H. Lawrence, taking you scene-by-scene through Andrei Tarkovsky’s Stalker, or, as in Another Great Day At Sea, spending two weeks aboard a US aircraft carrier, his abiding concerns – the self, the nature o ... More

Nigel Biggar reviews 'The Darkest Days' by Douglas Newton

Nigel Biggar
26 February 2015

Every author has his prejudices and it is usually best to lay them face-up on the table. Then the reader can track their influence, watching how they structure interpretation and noting any gaps that open up between the data and their construal. In this Douglas Newton is exemplary. No one can read the opening pages of his book and be left in any doubt about his main ... More

Peter Edwards reviews 'The Nashos' War' by Mark Dapin

Peter Edwards
26 February 2015

In late April, the commemorations of the centenary of the Gallipoli landing will inevitably overshadow another significant anniversary in Australia’s military, political, and social history. On 29 April 1965, fifty years to the week after the landing at Anzac Cove, the Menzies government announced the commitment of an Australian infantry battalion to the growing c ... More

Joan Beaumont reviews 'Anzac' by Carolyn Holbrook

Joan Beaumont
26 February 2015

The resurgence of the Anzac legend in the last quarter of the twentieth century took many Australians by surprise. In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, it seemed that the rituals of Anzac Day would wither and fade away as the generations who fought the two world wars died. It proved not to be so. ‘Anzac’, to use the common shorthand, now dominates the national m ... More

Carolyn Holbrook reviews 'Hell-Bent' by Douglas Newton

Carolyn Holbrook
16 December 2014

Reading about the ‘khaki election’ of 1914 in Douglas Newton’s Hell-Bent evokes a sense of déjà vu in 2014, as Australia embarks on another war in the Middle East. During the campaign of 1914, Prime Minister Joseph Cook and Labor leader Andrew Fisher jostled to prove their loyalty to Britain and their enthusiasm for the impending war. Fisher’s effor ... More

Robert O'Neill reviews 'War! What Is It Good For?' by Ian Morris

Robert O'Neill
16 December 2014

It is a brave author who produces a book proclaiming the usefulness of war at a time when most of us are thinking about the horrors and wastefulness of World War I. Ian Morris, British by birth but now the Willard Professor of Classics at Stanford, and author of Why The West Rules – For Now (2010), has done just that and is receiving praise for his efforts. ... More

Michael Morley reviews two books on Hitler’s impact on film and music

Michael Morley
23 July 2014

For all their differences of subject matter and approach (not to mention style), both of these studies can be seen as belonging to the category of what might be termed archaeological history. That is, they are concerned with retrieving and bringing to the surface a gallery of characters and set of important stories and connections which have been either suppressed o ... More

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