In our military section we've got books on the various wars, and particularly a collection of Australian military history.
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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.
Ardennes 1944: Hitler's Last Gamble
On 16 December 1944, Hitler launched his 'last gamble' in the snow-covered forests and gorges of the Ardennes on the Belgian/German border. Although Hitler's generals were doubtful of success, younger officers and NCOs were desperate to believe that their homes and families could be saved from the vengeful Red Army approaching from the east. The Ardennes offensive, with more than a million men involved, became the greatest battle of the war in western Europe. In January 1945, when the Red Army launched its onslaught towards Berlin, the once-feared German war machine was revealed to be broken beyond repair. The Ardennes was the battle which finally broke the Wehrmacht.
`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 ostensibly had nothing to do with Australia. Coinciding with Federation, the war kick-started 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.
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 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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