How to do justice to a book full of accounts of brave young men being horrifically wounded and dying in the course of their duty – I can’t! All I can...moreHow to do justice to a book full of accounts of brave young men being horrifically wounded and dying in the course of their duty – I can’t! All I can say is that people need to read this book, the story of brave young American servicemen based in a deadly and highly vulnerable valley just a few miles away from the Pakistan border and surrounded by enemy forces.
The book’s main focus is on the troops manning Combat Outpost Keating – named after an officer who lost his life at that location. The outpost was first established in 2006 and the author follows the various units and their men throughout their rotation of duty at the post till it’s dramatic end in 2009.
At times some of the accounts of soldiers being wounded and killed by the enemy is quite confronting and graphic and you think to yourself; ‘God I hope the families don’t read this book’. I think the author was trying to confront the reader with the reality of combat, to make us sit back and think, that really should we, as a nation, be so quick to put our young men in harm’s way.
I understand that the author interviewed many of the men and the families whose stories are told here. I came away with nothing but admiration for all the soldiers involved and a sense of rising anger at those who put these men in this situation that lead to many fine young men losing their lives or being wounded, in both body and mind.
The book is well-written and easy to read and appears to be well researched with numerous footnotes to various items of interest. At times I found it hard to put the book down and the accounts of the many battles and skirmishes had me reading till late at night or early next morning.
Some of the accounts were funny, like this one; “Howard had told Keating that he wanted him to switch Able Troop’s focus from strictly fighting the enemy to counterinsurgency work: more meeting with local leaders and assisting on development projects, less driving around trying to find insurgents. That wasn’t so easy: ‘nobody told them,’ Keating would quip about the enemy. ‘The little bastards keep shooting at us every day’.”
Or this account of when Sergeant First Class Jeff Jacops was wounded one morning when a recoilless rifle round hit a wall right in front of him, blowing him backward and knocking him unconscious. He awoke with a number of injuries caused by shrapnel and also realised that he was spitting out teeth. He was stabilised by the base medic and medevac’d to a larger support base:
“At Forward Operating Base Bostick, the surgeon told Jacops he was going to put him under so he could take a good look at his wounds. Preparing for the anesthesia, he asked his patient, ‘What did you have for breakfast?’ 'A fucking rocket,’ Jacops replied”
I was happy that I decided to read this book although I will confess that at times I felt saddened at the loss of so many good young men in a war that would appear was badly handled and supported by the very government that sent these men into action. I do not understand how these men were not provided the full support with all the resources that the United States military has at is disposal. This was the war that had to be won, but appears may have been lost, I hope not, for these men’s sake and their families. (less)
Battle Scarred The 47th Battalion in the First World War is a new book by Australian author Craig Deayton. This is his first book and what a great ach...moreBattle Scarred The 47th Battalion in the First World War is a new book by Australian author Craig Deayton. This is his first book and what a great achievement it is as well. I really loved this book, it’s a great story of ordinary men thrust into one of the worst wars known to man.
The author presents the good and the bad about the men who served in the 47th Battalion, 1st Australian Imperial Force. We read about those ordinary men who carried out great acts of bravery and were never recognised for their efforts but we also read about the cowards, maligerers and deserters.
This is the story of ordinary men thrown into the malestroem of the Western Front and who fought in some of the hardest and toughest battles along that line including; Pozieres, Mouquet Farm, Bullecourt, Messines, Passchendaele and Dernancourt. At the end of the war the remaining soldiers of the 47th gathered for one final photograph, only 73 men were left. (a battalion of that period was normally around 1000 men).
This is a great unit history and anyone who enjoys reading about the Great War should enjoy this book. In closing I’d like to add the review below from a well-respected Australian historian:
“Battle Scarred is surely the finest battalion history I have ever read… Craig Deayton has written a superb evocation and analysis of the life of one of the less celebrated of the AIF’s infantry battalions. This is no flattering hagiography full of derring-do, but an honest, critical, but still sympathetic, portrait of a run-of-the mill AIF battalion. Highly readable and richly descriptive both of the 47th’s men and their actions, it helps to explain not just what the AIF did on the Western Front, but what it was like for those involved, and why the AIF’s part in that terrible war remains such a profound part of Australian memory so long after.” - Dr. Peter Stanley Australia’s leading military historian(less)
Cameron Forbes new book; The Korean War: Australian in the Giants Playground, is just as good as his previous book Hellfire, which covered Australian...moreCameron Forbes new book; The Korean War: Australian in the Giants Playground, is just as good as his previous book Hellfire, which covered Australian POW’s in the Pacific War.
His new book on the Korean War takes you by surprise, as it’s not your standard military history following campaigns and battles as they took place across the map of Korea. No, this book is sort of a social history with great little stories and anecdotes covering numerous subjects within the context of the Korean War but it never goes too far off track.
The book’s primary focus is upon the Australian men who volunteered to go to Korea and what happened to them and it really draws you in. You’re not sure where the author is taking you sometimes but it always comes back to the men and their battles in Korea.
I have read numerous books on the Korean War and although this one didn’t cover every single battle it provided good accounts of those major battles involving the Australian forces as part of the Commonwealth effort. The stories of the men involved in those battles is what makes this book shine, it’s excellent, men I’ve never heard of before but now will never forget.
Many have said that the Korean War was the ‘forgotten war’, after reading this book let’s hope that changes, as these men deserve their due, they truly are the forgotten heroes of Australia. It’s a great story, sad, poignant and thoughtful, well done to the author for bringing their stories alive.
This is a great book of Napoleonic art, well produced and presented by the publishers. Keith Rocco has provided the Napoleonic community with a magnif...moreThis is a great book of Napoleonic art, well produced and presented by the publishers. Keith Rocco has provided the Napoleonic community with a magnificent visual reference book which is a pleasure to open and read. Should be in every Napoleonic library.(less)
Maybe because the book covers the Australian involvement on the Somme at Pozieres I may be a bit bias here but this is one of the best books I have re...more
Maybe because the book covers the Australian involvement on the Somme at Pozieres I may be a bit bias here but this is one of the best books I have read covering this terrible battle. I have no hesitation in rating it as being equal with Martin Middlebrooks 'The First day on the Somme' and Lynn Mac Donalds 'Somme'.
The book is 318 pages with 6 maps and a number of black & white photos. I had no problems when I used this book as a battle field guide when I visited the 'Windmill' at Pozieres and walked around the various sites of the fighting. The author, Peter Charlton, uses first hand accounts to help tell the story of the battle. He also provides detailed information on the events leading up to the Somme offensive and Australia's role in the 'Wearing-out battle'.
For those not aware of Australia's involvement in WWI more Australians fell at Pozieres than on any other battlefield in the world. It's a sad period of our history and I was glad that somebody took the time to tell the story of these brave and gallant men who fought and died there. This is a great book and I would recommend it to all who love history or books on WWI . (less)
This massive book (738 pages plus photos & maps) offers the reader an interesting and enjoyable account of the European powers race to 'civilize'...more
This massive book (738 pages plus photos & maps) offers the reader an interesting and enjoyable account of the European powers race to 'civilize' the African continent. The book covers the great explorers, the numerous battles and conflicts (between the European powers and the natives and between the European powers) and many other interesting items during this 'scramble for Africa'. I found this book to be a great read, very enjoyable and although the size may be daunting it never got boring. The author covers the period from 1876 through to 1912 in 37 chapters of interesting reading. "Whatever happens, we have got the Maxium gun, and they have not!" about covers it! (less)
The Bravest of the Brave, Michel Ney: Marshal of France, Duke of Elchingen, Prince of the Moskowa 1769-181" by Andrew Hilliard Atteridge is a rare gem...moreThe Bravest of the Brave, Michel Ney: Marshal of France, Duke of Elchingen, Prince of the Moskowa 1769-181" by Andrew Hilliard Atteridge is a rare gem of a book. First published in 1914 this book follows the military career of one of Napoleon's greatest Marshals, `The Bravest of the Brave' - Marshal Ney.
Ney was best known for his gallant actions during the 1812 retreat from Moscow where he commanded the rearguard and helped save the remnants of the Grand Armee. This book covers that and more, from his service in the French Revolutionary Armies fighting in Germany till his final action at Waterloo. The reader can follow Ney leading his troops throughout all of Napoleon's major campaigns and battles, including Ulm and Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau and Friedland.
The account of his trial and execution is well told and very touching. Michel Ney comes across as a brave, generous and honest man who did his utmost for his country during nearly twenty-five years of almost constant combat. He was also a loving husband and father with a dedicated wife and a number of children who also made their mark in history.
This is a good book and most people who delight in reading about this period of history should enjoy this account. I would also recommend this author's biography of another Napoleonic marshal; Marshal Murat King of Naples which is another spellbinding account of great battles and interesting times.
I have a 1965 copy of this great book and I don't think that there has been a better account of the rise & fall of the Zulu nation. This is one of...more
I have a 1965 copy of this great book and I don't think that there has been a better account of the rise & fall of the Zulu nation. This is one of the best accounts of how the Zulu nation become one of the most feared in Africa under Shaka and how it fell to ruin under Cetshwayo during the war with England in 1879. A great read that has not aged in these 30 odd years. This book has been the standard that all others have been compared to since its publication. It's one of my all time favourite books and I have no hesitation in recommending it to anyone who has a love for this period or a passion for history.(less)
This book was the catalyst for my enduring fascination for books covering the Western Front. I use to despair in trying to read books about the Great...moreThis book was the catalyst for my enduring fascination for books covering the Western Front. I use to despair in trying to read books about the Great War, as they were mind numbing with the numbers of dead, I was too young to appreciate what I was reading. Martin Middlebrook’s “The First Day on the Somme” changed all that and gave me a love for this period of history and a better appreciation of what these poor soldiers went through. If anyone wants to better understand the Great War or the Battle on the Somme this is the book to start off with. For those who are interested the author went on to write another account from the German perspective covering the March 1918 offensive titled “The Kaiser’s Battle”.(less)
This is the by far the best book to read if you want to learn and understand what Australian and Japanese soldiers endured during one of the worst cam...moreThis is the by far the best book to read if you want to learn and understand what Australian and Japanese soldiers endured during one of the worst campaigns in the Pacific during World War Two. The main story covers the infamous Kokoda Track campaign, and is told from both sides of the conflict, offering a balanced portrayal. The story is well told and the book moves along at a fast pace which isn't bad for a military history book. Detailed research and a gripping, horrible account of terrible battles fought in hellish terrain. The author ensures that Australian and Japanese perspectives of the hellish Papuan jungle trail are presented in a non-bias light.(less)