In our military section we've got books on the various wars, and particularly a collection of Australian military history.
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No Front Line: Australia's Special Forces at War in Afganistan
The soldiers of the SAS, the Commandos and Special Operations Engineer Regiment are Australia's most highly trained soldiers. Their work is often secret, their bravery undeniable and for thirteen years they were at the forefront of Australia's longest war. Shunning acclaim, they are the Australian Defence Forces' brightest and best skilled. In an extraordinary investigation undertaken over ten years, Chris Masters opens up the heart of Australia's Special Forces and their war in Afghanistan. He gives voice to the soldiers, he takes us to the centre of some of the fiercest combat Australia has ever experienced and provides the most intimate examination of what it is like to be a member of this country's elite fighting forces. But he also asks difficult questions that reveal controversial clouds hanging over our Special Operations mission in Afghanistan. For Australia, there is no more important war to examine in detail. Afghanistan lives in our recent past and will continue to occupy our future. Masterfully told, No Front Line will find a place as one of Australia's finest books on contemporary soldiering.
Somme: Into the Breach
'The best new narrative of the battle thus far, reflecting his gifts for fluent prose and moving quotations.' Max Hastings, Sunday Times No conflict better encapsulates all that went wrong on the Western Front during World War I than the Battle of the Somme in 1916. The tragic loss of life and stoic endurance by troops who walked towards their death is an iconic image - but this critically-acclaimed bestseller, on the four months of battle, shows the extent to which the Allied armies were in fact able to break through the German front lines again and again. In eight years of research, Hugh Sebag-Montefiore -- the author of Dunkirk -- has found extraordinary new material from Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, and the British - from heartbreaking diaries and letters to hitherto unseen Red Cross files - recounting their experiences amid the horror of war. It has been hailed as the best book about the battle, which, though not an Allied victory, was the beginning of the slide towards German defeat.
On 25 April 1915, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in present-day Turkey to secure the sea route between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east. After eight months of terrible fighting, they would fail. Turkey regards the victory to this day as a defining moment in its history, a heroic last stand in the defence of the nation's Ottoman Empire. But, counter-intuitively, it would signify something perhaps even greater for the defeated Australians and New Zealanders involved- the birth of their countries' sense of nationhood. Now approaching its centenary, the Gallipoli campaign, commemorated each year on Anzac Day, reverberates with importance as the origin and symbol of Australian and New Zealand identity. As such, the facts of the battle - which was minor against the scale of the First World War and cost less than a sixth of the Australian deaths on the Western Front - are often forgotten or obscured. Peter FitzSimons, with his trademark vibrancy and expert melding of writing and research, recreates the disaster as experienced by those who endured it or perished in the attempt.
Stunning trade paperback edition of Grantlee Kieza's bestselling biography of Australia's greatest general It's December 1918 and the world war is over. General Sir John Monash attends a glittering banquet to dine with the King of England and the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling. Just four months earlier, the commander of the Australian Corps had been knighted in a battlefield, a long way from the streets of Melbourne where this son of a long line of Polish rabbis had grown up. Field Marshal Montgomery would declare decades later that Monash was the best general to serve on the Western Front. How had this notorious ladies' man, who harboured private thoughts about the futility of war and had never fired a shot in anger, come to be feted by the British establishment as well as his countrymen back home? In this essential biography of a most unlikely folk hero, Grantlee Kieza paints a lively portrait of an outsider who shaped modern Australia through his energy, drive and ambition, his military brilliance and his vision.
`Australian governments find it easy to go to war. Their leaders seem to be able to withdraw with a calm conscience, answerable neither to God nor humanity.' Australia lost 600 men in the Boer War, a three-year conflict fought in the heart of Africa that had ostensibly nothing to do with Australia. Coinciding with Federation, the war kickstarted Australia's commitment to fighting in Britain's wars overseas, and forged a national identity around it. By 1902, when the Boer War ended, a mythology about our colonial soldiers had already been crafted, and a dangerous precedent established. This is Henry Reynolds at his searing best, as he shows how the Boer War left a dark and dangerous legacy, demonstrating how those beliefs have propelled us into too many unnecessary wars - without ever counting the cost.
A Broken World
A lieutenant writes of digging through bodies that have the consistency of Camembert cheese; a mother sends flower seeds to her son at the Front, hoping that one day someone may see them grow; a nurse tends a man back to health knowing he will be court-martialled and shot as soon as he is fit. In this extraordinarily powerful and diverse selection of diaries, letters and memories, the testament from ordinary people whose lives were transformed are set alongside extracts from names that have become synonymous with the war, such as Siegfried Sassoon and T E Lawrence. A Broken World is an original collection of personal and defining moments that offer an unprecedented insight into the Great War as it was experienced and as it was remembered.
War: What is it Good For?
War is one of the greatest human evils. It has ruined livelihoods, provoked unspeakable atrocities and left countless millions dead. It has caused economic chaos and widespread deprivation. And the misery it causes poisons foreign policy for future generations. But, argues bestselling historian Ian Morris, in the very long term, war has in fact been a good thing. In his trademark style combining inter-disciplinary insights, scientific methods and fascinating stories, Morris shows that, paradoxically, war is the only human invention that has allowed us to construct peaceful societies. Without war, we would never have built the huge nation-states which now keep us relatively safe from random acts of violence, and which have given us previously unimaginable wealth. It is thanks to war that we live longer and more comfortable lives than ever before. And yet, if we continue waging war with ever-more deadly weaponry, we will destroy everything we have achieved; so our struggles to manage warfare make the coming decades the most decisive in the history of our civilisation.
The Australian Light Horse:
The Australian Light Horse was a unique force, first raised during the Boer War, and then reformed for World War I. Most of the men were from the outback, had a special bond with their horses (which were all brought from Australia) - and they knew how to survive and fight in the desert. The greatest part of the Allied victory over the Turks was theirs. Colonel Lawrence had a strategy for actually defeating the Turks - as opposed to the British High Command's acceptance of the status quo. What Lawrence needed was a mobile, elite force to join his own troops - and in the Light Horse he had them. Battle-hardened by Gallipoli and the repulse of the Turkish invasion of Egypt, the Australians were ready. Under their brilliant commander, Sir Harry Chauvel, they won great victories in the Sinai, Palestine and Syria - culminating in the last great cavalry charge in our military history, and the taking of Beersheba in 1917. Every Australian has heard of the Light Horse - but practically none have read their story. Roland Perry brings their story to life, and tells it with colour, emotion - and authority.
The War that Ended Peace
The First World War followed a period of sustained peace in Europe during which people talked with confidence of prosperity, progress and hope. But in 1914, Europe walked into a catastrophic conflict which killed millions of its men, bled its economies dry, shook empires and societies to pieces, and fatally undermined Europe's dominance of the world. It was a war which could have been avoided up to the last moment - so why did it happen? Beginning in the early nineteenth century, and ending with the assassination of Arch Duke Franz Ferdinand, award-winning historian Margaret MacMillan uncovers the huge political and technological changes, national decisions and - just as important - the small moments of human muddle and weakness that led Europe from peace to disaster. This masterful exploration of how Europe chose its path towards war will change and enrich how we see this defining moment in our history.
The untold story of the Sandakan Death Marches of the Second World War. This is the story of the three-year ordeal of the Sandakan prisoners of war a barely known episode of unimaginable horror. After the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese conquerors transferred 2500 British and Australian prisoners to a jungle camp some eight miles inland of Sandakan, on the east coast of North Borneo. For decades after the Second World War, the Australian and British governments would refuse to divulge the truth of what happened there, for fear of traumatising the families of the victims and enraging the people. The prisoners were broken, beaten, worked to death, thrown into bamboo cages on the slightest pretext, starved and subjected to tortures so ingenious and hideous that none survived the onslaught with their minds intact, and only an incredibly resilient few managed to withstand the pain without yielding to the hated Kempei-tai, the Japanese military police. But this was only the beginning of the nightmare.
We Die Alone
In March 1943 a team of expatriate Norwegian commandos sailed from the Shetland Islands - the most northerly part of Britain - for Nazi-occupied Norway.Their mission was to organise and support the Norwegian resistance. They were betrayed and only one man survived the ambush by the Nazis. Crippled by frostbite and snow-blind, hunted by the Nazis, Jan Baalstrud managed to find a tiny arctic village. There - delirious, near death - he found villagers willing to risk their own lives to save him. David Howarth narrates his incredible escape in this gripping tale of courage and the resilience of the human spirit.
One April morning in 1943, a sardine fisherman spotted the corpse of a British soldier floating in the sea off the coast of Spain and set in train a course of events that would change the course of the Second World War. Operation Mincemeat was the most successful wartime deception ever attempted, and certainly the strangest. It hoodwinked the Nazi espionage chiefs, sent German troops hurtling in the wrong direction, and saved thousands of lives by deploying a secret agent who was different, in one crucial respect, from any spy before or since: he was dead. His mission: to convince the Germans that instead of attacking Sicily, the Allied armies planned to invade Greece. The brainchild of an eccentric RAF officer and a brilliant Jewish barrister, the great hoax involved an extraordinary cast of characters including a famous forensic pathologist, a gold-prospector, an inventor, a beautiful secret service secretary, a submarine captain, three novelists, a transvestite English spymaster, an irascible admiral who loved fly-fishing, and a dead Welsh tramp. Using fraud, imagination and seduction, Churchill's team of spies spun a web of deceit so elaborate and so convincing that they began to believe it themselves. The deception started in a windowless basement beneath Whitehall. It travelled from London to Scotland to Spain to Germany. And it ended up on Hitler's desk. Ben Macintyre, bestselling author of "Agent Zigzag", weaves together private documents, photographs, memories, letters and diaries, as well as newly released material from the intelligence files of MI5 and Naval Intelligence, to tell for the first time the full story of Operation Mincemeat.
Fly: True Stories of Courage and Adventure from the Airmen of World War II
'Fly is an absorbing read thanks to the amazing and previously untold stories Veitch collected from aging pilots, navigators and gunners.' HERALD SUN All over the world during World War II, thousands of young men who had never so much as been near an aeroplane left offices, farms and classrooms to learn to fly and fight in the greatest conflict the world has ever seen. They fought over deserts, cities and jungles, in-single-engine fighter aircraft, heavy bombers, transport planes and flying boats. How do they feel about their dramatic days in the air? What is it they remember, and what do they choose to forget? In these candid and moving stories, Michael Veitch, writer, broadcaster and aeroplane fanatic, uncovers some of the untold stories of World War II- Australian, British and even German. He captures the events that defined a generation of men before these stories are lost forever.
The classic international bestseller recounting the epic turning point of the second world war In October 1942, a Panzer officer wrote 'Stalingrad is no longer a town... Animals flee this hell; the hardest stones cannot bear it for long; only men endure'. The battle for Stalingrad became the focus of Hitler and Stalin's determination to win the gruesome, vicious war on the eastern front. The citizens of Stalingrad endured unimaginable hardship; the battle, with fierce hand-to-hand fighting in each room of each building, was brutally destructive to both armies. But the eventual victory of the Red Army, and the failure of Hitler's Operation Barbarossa, was the first defeat of Hitler's territorial ambitions in Europe, and the start of his decline. An extraordinary story of tactical genius, civilian bravery and the nature of war itself, which changed how history is written, Stalingrad is a testament to the vital role of the Soviet war effort.
The Great War
Winner of the inaugural Prime Minister's Prize for History, 2007. The Great War is Les Carlyon's extraordinary account of the Anzacs on the Western Front from 1916 to 1918. This new Picador edition is designed to sit alongside a matching edition of Gallipoli, his other classic work on Australia's involvement in the First World War. Destined to become an Australian classic... "The Great War is a deeply moving monument to a generation and what they endured. Read this book and weep." (West Australian)
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