Bollard, Robert: In the Shadow of Gallipoli

Robert Bollard

In the Shadow of Gallipoli: The Hidden History of Australia in World War I, New South, Sydney, 2013

Bollard urges us to revise the accepted “distorted, or at least unbalanced” view of the Great War. He looks at aspects of the war you won’t read in the next doorstop book from a celebratory “‘storian” journalist or in the galleries of the Australian War Memorial. He describes the strikes and the bitter campaigns over conscription, asking how invading a beach in Turkey made “us” a nation and how dying at Fromelles protected “our” freedom. Far from the familiar epic of sacrifice, comradeship and national redemption, Bollard writes of a war as unpopular as Vietnam would become. “The harder one digs beneath the veneer of ritual and commemoration”, he writes, ‘the harder it is to recognize the war we think we know”.

In the Shadow of Gallipoli offers a rallying point for those who welcomed Marilyn Lake asking What’s Wrong with Anzac? a couple of years ago. It provides thoughtful material for those questioning the celebratory tone that is already shaping up as the dominant mood of the forthcoming centenary of the Great War, encouraging those questioning whether Australians can produce an honest history of the war we think we know.’ (review by Peter Stanley)

A review in Green Left Weekly.

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