... hereafter who will ever forget it?’
There are many books written about World War I, about the landing at Gallipoli, about the battles in which the Anzacs featured both at Gallipoli and in Europe. This book, by Ms Adam-Smith which was first published in 1978, is about the men and women who were the Anzacs. Ms Adam-Smith read more than 8000 diaries and letters. She also spoke with some of the veterans, some of the few still alive in the 1970s. And this book, with those diary entries and firsthand recollections, makes the horror personal. For these men, and the women who nursed them, this was direct, horrific, real experience. How can we begin to appreciate their experiences?
Thousands died at Gallipoli. Thousands more died in Europe. And some, like my great-uncle, returned to Australia only to die after the war had ended as a consequence of injuries sustained.
Ms Adam-Smith wrote:
‘The worst of working with the diaries is all those empty pages. You turn back one page from those you find empty and re-read: ’27 April, 1915: All around me have been killed or wounded. I escaped so far’. And there is no more. He was aged 28.’
These are simple accounts, of men and women trying their best to make sense of and to survive horrific experiences. Ordinary people, extraordinary experiences. But this is not just an account of the war, Ms Adam-Smith writes of where the soldiers were drawn from and the experiences that shaped them. She also writes of the impact of distance, the fact of venereal disease and life after World War I.
The first part of the book is about Gallipoli, the second part is after Gallipoli. I read and try to get my head around the very different conditions. The many different ways in which men and women suffer in war, and after war.
‘Boys you’ve lost your jobs. The war’s over and you can all go back to your billets.’
War ends with official declarations and proclamations. I doubt that it ends during the lifetime of those who participated in it. And yet, we expect people to (quickly) move on.
‘The returned men had already learnt that they were only considered when needed as fighters. They had no say in the peace.’
If you’ve not read this book and you are interested in learning more about individual experiences of World War I, then I recommend this book. It’s one way of remembering those men and women: our original Anzacs. Ms Adam-Smith died in 2001.
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Anzacs: War Popular Penguins, The Paperback – 26 Mar 2014
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The Anzacs remains unrivalled as the classic account of Australia's involvement in the First World War.
About the Author
Patsy Adam-Smith, AO, OBE, was born in 1926 in Nowingi, Victoria. She was the daughter of country railway workers and went on to write about her childhood in Hear the Train Blow, 1964. The author of some 30 books, she had the rare ability to tap our Australian consciousness and bring us closer to our national identity. Throughout her life she has displayed a passion for adventure and scholarship, and a great love of Australia. The Anzacs shared the 1978 Age Book of the Year Award and was made into a popular TV series. In 1980 she received an OBE for services to literature, and in 1994 she was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for her contribution to community history. Patsy Adam-Smith died in 2001.
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Most important--- ALL of it. You gain a different perspective on YOUR life as lived today and WHY you are an American!16 November 2017 - Published on Amazon.com
This is a gret history lesson of WW I. For me it also explains many things today's generations do not know why we cannot be involved with what happens in Europe and why closing our borders is so important. It tells why we need to get involved in world affairs so much sooner than we did in WW I and difinately WW II. The losses to Australia and New Zealand were horrific and most Americans have no clue as to their Sacrifices in either of these wars. Reading more of the actual history of the Middle East rather than just news stories of the Middle East will give insight as to WHY Israel is so important whether you are a Christian or not. The 700 years between the Birth of Christ and the later life of Mohammad "Allah" of the Moslem world. Things start t ying together for you the reader.