Historian, Writer, Commentator, Consultant.

Books

Lost Boys of Anzac

Posted by on Jan 18, 2012 in Books | 1 comment

Lost Boys of Anzac (NewSouth, 2014 [forthcoming]) Ever since Quinn’s Post (2005) I’d wanted to write another book about Gallipoli. Thinking in 2010 about how Gallipoli has been treated in books in Australia, I realised that it had become a bit of a doughnut. There was of course a plethora of books about the campaign, but the actual day of the landing – for all the rhetoric of Anzac – had either attracted very little attention from researchers or had attracted mostly operational studies. There...

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Digger Smith

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

Digger Smith and Australia’s Great War (Murdoch/Pier 9, Sydney, 2011) I got the idea for this book from the research for Men of Mont St Quentin. C.J. Dennis was a close friend of the Robertses (he wrote The Sentimental Bloke in atheir back garden at Sunnyside). Frank Roberts fed Dennis snippets of AIF slang. Soon after Frank was killed at Mont St Quentin Dennis published Digger Smith. Hoping to find something of Frank’s experience in the text I naturally read it. It didn’t reflect much of...

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Simpson’s Donkey

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

Simpson’s Donkey (Murdoch Books, Sydney, 2011) I can’t remember why or where I had the idea of thinking about the Simpson story from the donkey’s point of view. It was certainly years before Glyn Harper’s New Zealand children’s book. I tootled about with it for a while. Then in 2006 I applied for and won a creative fellowship from the May Gibbs Children’s Literature Trust. This would have given me some time to write a manuscript that was only partially finished. At exactly that time I got the...

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Bad Characters

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

Winner of the 2010-2011 Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. Bad Characters: Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder and the Australian Imperial Force (Murdoch/Pier 9, Sydney, 2010) Bill Gammage’s The Broken Years of 1974 – one of the Ur-texts of the revival in Australian military history which has governed my professional career – included a group photograph which ten Australians deserters sent to the Provost Marshal (the senior military police officer) at Le Havre in 1917. They...

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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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