Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Remembering them: the ANZAC Centenary - explore our history with a book

Between 2014 and 2018 Australia will commemorate the Anzac Centenary, marking 100 years since this country's involvement in the First World War. In the last ten years alone over 150 books with the words Anzac or Gallipoli in their titles have been published. Many more are in the pipeline due for release as the Centenary gets underway. With advances over the years in research methods and easier access to previously inaccessible resources the range of books of interest not only to scholars and battle enthusiasts but to the general reader has flourished to the point where there really is ‘something for everyone’.

Previously neglected areas of research now getting attention include the role of women in the conflict, recently brought to life in the television series Anzac Girls, based on Anzac girls: the extraordinary story of our World War I nurses by Peter Rees (previously published as The Other Anzacs). Life on the home-front is explored in Michael McKernan’s, Australians at home: World War 1 in a new edition of one of the first books on this subject. Khaki Crims & Desperados by Russell Robinson tells the little known story of criminals with extensive police records who were among the thousands who enlisted.

Two new books take a fresh look at the life and work of one of Australia's most well-known war correspondents, Charles Bean in Charles Bean: if people really knew: one man's struggle to report the Great War and tell the truth by Ross Coulthart and Charles Bean's Gallipoli illustrated edited by Phillip Bradley.

The men behind the national legend are revealed in two recent books. Memoirs and letters, as well as poetry, reportage and prose have been edited by author and journalist Mark Dapin in From the Trenches: the best ANZAC writing of World War One to tell the personal stories of the Anzacs in their own words. Investigative journalist Ross Coulthart in The Lost Diggers tells the real life detective story behind the recent discovery in France of lost photographs taken by Louis and Antoinette Thullier of Australian diggers and other allied troops as they passed through the French town of Vignacourt on their way to Pozieres, Bullecourt, and the Somme. The images of young Australians are as moving as the story of their discovery is riveting.
For fans of popular history  two of Australia’s most prolific authors have recently published page turning accounts of the World War 1 conflict from the Australian perspective, Peter FitzSimons in Gallipoli and Paul Ham with 1914:The Year the World Ended.

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