Historian, Writer, Commentator, Consultant.

Posts by Peter

Men of Mont St Quentin

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Men of Mont St Quentin: Between Victory and Death (Scribe Books, Melbourne, 2009) After delivering the manuscript of Quinn’s Post in about October 2004 I started to become curious about the other end of the Great War. Quinn’s had been about men who had enlisted at the beginning of the war and had fought in Australia’s first substantial campaign. But I wondered whether another book might reveal what the war did to these men and those who followed them, and what the effects of war service might...

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Commando to Colditz

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Commando to Colditz: Micky Burn’s Journey to the Far Side of Tears – the raid on St Nazaire(Murdoch/Pier 9, Sydney and London, 2009) Commando to Colditz was conceived in the kitchen of my brother-in-law, the historical motoring writer Gordon Cruickshank, in Wimbledon. When visiting London I shamelessly free-load on Gordon, who lives an hour’s tube journey from the archives and libraries I use there – the Imperial War Museum, the British Library and, above all, the National Archives. I...

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A Stout Pair of Boots

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

A Stout Pair of Boots: A Guide to Exploring Australia’s Battlefields (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2008) Though it was a ‘private’ (is a non-work) book, A Stout Pair of Boots was arguably the first product of my time at the National Museum of Australia. I numbered among my new colleagues one of Australia’s premier archaeologists – Dr Mike Smith. Late in 2007 Claire and I bought a car, and I had to go to Manuka to sign the papers for the loan. Arriving before the bank opened, I browsed in the...

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Invading Australia

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Invading Australia: Japan and the Battle for Australia, 1942 (Viking Penguin, Melbourne, 2008) In about 2003 the book-packager Valerie Harper visited me to ask whom I might recommend to write a book about Australia and the Great War. I suggested Peter Pedersen and in due course his Anzacs appeared. She then asked me who I might suggest to write a similar book about the Second World War and I said, er … well, me, actually. At first the idea was simply a ‘narrative book about the Second World...

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Borneo, 1945

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 0 comments

Borneo, 1945 (DVA, Canberra, 2005) The Department of Veterans’ Afairs has since the mid-1990s operated a large, well-funded and energetic Commemorations program which I have been involved with off-and-on in various ways. I’m wary of aspects of DVA’s influence, and worry that it skews the study of Australian military history in schools towards an unduly uncritical understanding of history (of which the most egregious example is Brendon Nelson’s ‘Simpson’ poster – which articulated several...

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