The Great War
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The Great War

4.48 of 5 stars 4.48  ·  rating details  ·  112 ratings  ·  12 reviews
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.....more
Hardcover, 863 pages
Published January 1st 2006 by Macmillan and Co Ltd, Sydney, Australia
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"We are lousy, stinking, ragged, unshaven, sleepless. Even when we're back a bit we can't sleep for our own guns. I have one puttee, a dead man's helmet, another dead man's gas protector, a dead man's bayonet. My tunic is rotten with other men's blood and partly splattered with a comrade's brains...Courage does not count here. It is all nerve. Once that goes one becomes a gibbering maniac." - Lieutenant John 'Alec' Raws, 4 August 1916, quoted in The Great War

On the 28 February 1916, 28-year-old...more
'Aussie Rick'
Another inspiring book by Les Carlyon, following on from his best selling account of Gallipoli comes this book, this time covering the Australian involvement on the Western front from 1916 till 1918. During this period the Australian troops fought in all the major battles, from the Somme to the breaching of the Hindenburg Line and become, along with the Canadian Corps one of the most feared and respected troops on the Western Front. During WW1 Australia's small population sent over 332,000 men t...more
Charles Edge
I gave this book four stars because the detail may put off many readers.
Written from an Australian point of view, it details not only the savagery and futility of this conflict, but also the evident incompetence and ignorance of the British Generals, Haig in particular. Unusually for an Australian history of this war, it is much broader than simply the Gallipoli disaster, and includes great detail about the Western Front. Thank goodness the General John Monash was eventually given command of Aus...more
Max Cheney
A definitive journal of the war where thrill seeking men were slaughted because the English used them as cannon fodder.
An account of the Australian Imperial Force on the Western Front, 1916-1918. Carlyon is a retired newspaperman and shows it by skilfully avoiding getting caught up in unit designations, instead relying largely on first-hand accounts of the kind that official histories omit on propaganda grounds. The looting and sometimes shooting of prisoners would be a case in point. The material is intrinsically compelling, and Carlyon adds a layer of accessibility.
A well written and absorbing book despite it's daunting size. It left me alternating between being deeply sad to incredibly angry that the Generals and governments could be so inept and callous. Books like this should be required reading for all that we might remember the sacrfices that were made by so many.
Despite the length of this book (and it is very long!), it wasn't a grind at all. Carlyon is a fantastic write who really knows how to write history. The personal histories of the men and women involved were very moving.
I found this book to be most informative - especially for someone who has little to no knowledge of WWI. I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to learn about Australia's involvement in the Western Front.
Mark Evans
What an extraordinary book. The detail and the stories of utter waste and despair as young Australians fought in the great war are wonderfully told yet horribly all too real.
Necessary correction to many WWI myths. I found his appraisal of Bean most interesting as well as the detailed, forgotten story of the diggers he chronicled.
Oct 08, 2011 Nyree added it
This book is amazing - I couldn't put it down it. When Carlyon starts telling you about folk you just wish "please don't die".
Loved it, any WW1 fan would.
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