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Private Wars: Personal Records of the Anzacs in the Great War
By Greg Kerr
This volume retraces the journey of the Australian and New Zealand troops from Gallipoli in 1915 to the final penetration of the Hindenburg Line in 1918. Although the author covers the general strategic course of the war and the success or otherwise of each campaign, his primary concern is with the "personal" human factor of combat and its aftermath. Gregg Kerr traces the experiences of about 60 figures in the Great War: officers, privates, and nurses. The authentic, alternately hopeful and suffering voice of the Anzacs is captured in judicious and uncensored extracts from soldiers' letters and diaries. Several figures reappear throughout the book and many convey the terror and pathos of this long and calamitous war. As in Gregg Kerr's work about his forebears at Gallipoli, "Lost Anzacs: the Story of Two Brothers", the material is engrossing, and raw. At Gallipoli, an ex-miner from Broken Hill defiantly smokes a cigarette in view of the enemy; a lieutenant likens the slaughter to a wallaby drive; while a sergeant suggests that Gallipoli would make a good sheep run. None of the photographs or extracts has appeared in other military books or journals. This volume thus preserves invaluable private records of Australia's participation in one of the century's most remarkable events.

Hardback, 2000, 306pages, very good condition

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