Elgin's Reviews > Gallipoli

Gallipoli by Michael Hickey
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's review
Apr 18, 12

bookshelves: military

I have been curious about Gallipoli since years ago hearing the beautiful Eric Bogle song "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", a story about an Australian man drafted during WWI who ended up fighting and losing both legs at Gallipoli. Evidently the Australians made a "folklore" about their role in the campaign though the author claims they have since exaggerated their role. Whatever the situation, this was a very disturbing book about a campaign
run by British officer and politicians who repeatedly sacrificed hundreds and thousands of men in poorly planned, wing and a prayer attacks on the seemingly unassailable Turkish defenses...again and again and again. Even when the generals came to their senses and realized that the situation
was hopeless and that the best thing was to retreat from the Gallipoli peninsula, the politicians in Britain took months to give permission for fear of "losing face" in the Mideast. Could this happen nowadays? I suspect (and hope) not. War in the time of poorly developed military theory and primitive communications must have been incredibly difficult. However even more disturbing was the self serving egos of the military and political leaders (like Churchhill) that were willing to sacrifice thousands of lies on plans that had almost no chance of succeeding on the hopes that they would reap personal glory. And they did not learn from their mistakes but did so again and again and again. A disturbing and depressing book but also a testament to the futility of war.

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