World War I

Ben Brooker reviews 'Reflections on Gallipoli'

Ben Brooker

It is, of course, one hundred years since almost 9,000 Australians died on a small Turkish peninsula during a campaign that, despite its localised failure as a military operation and futility in influencing the overall course of the war, has been unalterably woven into the fabric of our national mythos. Commemorative presentations are frequent. Orchestras, televisio ... More

John Arnold reviews 'Furphies and Whizz-Bangs' by Amanda Laugesen

John Arnold

The Great War produced its own idiom and slang. Many of the new words and phrases created during the long conflict, such as ‘tank’ and ‘barrage’, became part of standard English, although often with a different nuance of meaning.

The recording of Australian soldier slang was seen as important at the end of the war. It was recognised as being integral ... More

Nigel Biggar reviews 'The Darkest Days' by Douglas Newton

Nigel Biggar

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

Joan Beaumont reviews 'Anzac' by Carolyn Holbrook

Joan Beaumont

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

Alison Broinowski: Malcolm Fraser on Foreign Policy

Alison Broinowski

Coinciding with the World War I anniversaries, Malcolm Fraser’s book will polarise Australian opinion on a fundamental issue. It has never been raised in this way, for Australian leaders have not discussed decisions to go to war in public, nor sought popular approval of Australia’s alliances. Yet successive generations of young Australians have fought in British ... More

J. P. McKinney's Great War Novel

Rodney Hall

Everybody knows by now that the eBook may soon become as significant to literature as recording is to music. The copyright problems are evident, but on the positive side the tired old market-driven canon is being given a rude shake-up.

Quality speaks for itself. Recent welcome revivals include editions of David Ireland’s The Unknown Industrial Prisoner< ... More

Geoff Page reviews 'From the Trenches'

Geoff Page

Mark Dapin’s anthology, From the Trenches, is a timely but not opportunistic book. At more than 400 pages, it is long enough to suggest the sheer scale of the war and its centrality to European (if not world) history ever since. It samples all the relevant genres (letters, memoir, journalism, fiction, poetry) and offers a multiplicity of viewpoints (senior ranks, subalterns, NCOs, priv ... More

Amanda Laugesen on Slang and the Australian Soldier

Amanda Laugesen

The relationship between the world of soldiers and the world of civilians has long been a topic of interest to historians and other scholars of war. Joan Beaumont’s significant new book Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War (reviewed in ABR, February 2014) emphasises the importance of considering the war front and home front side by side, and a ... More

Broken Nation

Marilyn Lake

Marilyn Lake reviews Joan Beaumont’s magnum opus on Australians in the Great War and lauds it as the book to read amid the tsunami of books on the outbreak of the Great War.

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Robin Prior on 'The Making of the First World War'

Robin Prior

The first thing to be said about this book is that no one associated with it seemed to know what to call it or how to describe its contents. The essays which make up the book are not in any sense about the ‘making’ of World War I. They do not describe either elements that ‘made’ World War I in the sense of causing it, or elements that caused World War ... More

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