Historian, Writer, Commentator, Consultant.

Books

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

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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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Quinn’s Post

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Quinn’s Post, Anzac, Gallipoli (Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2005) Around 2001, when Alamein was pretty much finished, I began to think that I needed to write about the Great War – hitherto, although I’d done several exhibitions at the Australian War Memorial on the First World War – including Gallipoli, the Western Front introductory gallery, The Riddles of Anzac, the refurbishment of the Western Front gallery proper and Echoes of the Guns, I’d never actually published much more than articles...

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Whyalla at War 1939-45

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

Whyalla at War 1939-45 (Whyalla City Council, Whyalla, 2004) Whyalla at War also originates in childhood. In December 1966 my family (which had migrated from Liverpool to South Australia the previous September) moved to Whyalla, a booming steel-making and ship-building city on the shore of Spencer Gulf. I was to live there until I left to attend university in 1975, and my mother and brother live there still. In the late 1960s Hummock Hill, which looks down on Whyalla’s main street, still bore...

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For Fear of Pain

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

For Fear of Pain: British Surgery 1790-1850 (Editions Rodopi/Wellcome Institute, Amsterdam, 2003) As I describe in the book’s epilogue, For Fear of Pain goes back to my childhood: I decided in about 1994 that I needed to investigate and exorcise this preoccupation with surgery. I remember that the first real research I did was in the Library of Congress in Washington in October 1995, when I took a break from research for Tarakan to look at surgical manuals from the 1820s and 1830s. Then in the...

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