Peter FitzSimons has powerfully evoked the battles in New Guinea in his Kokoda, a vivid account that is included in our Reader’s Digest book, Chronicles of World War II. We chose Kokoda to edit for our readers because FitzSimons proved that this enormously complex theatre of war could be adequately described if an author could find the human threads within it, and make them clear. In his book we closely follow a handful of real Australian soldiers through the tragedy and hardships of Kokoda.
To read an extract from FitzSimons’s Kokoda, featuring the redoubtable 39th Battalion, click here.
To see more about Chronicles of World War II, click here.
Readers of WWII history will be pleased to know that the first full account of the battle for Milne Bay in New Guinea has recently appeared. A 200-page informative, illustrated paperback by Associate Professor Brian Boettcher, Eleven Bloody Days: The Battle for Milne Bay is a comprehensive record of this crucial conflict. Boettcher writes: ‘I dedicate this book to all the Americans and Australians who served in Milne Bay in August and September 1942. Most suffered this hell hole to be left with physical and mental damage for the rest of their life. Those captured were all killed, usually by horrific torture … The enormous courage and determination of the Australian soldiers and American engineers has largely gone unrecognised. This book hopes to right this wrong.’
To see more about Eleven Bloody Days: The Battle for Milne Bay, click here.
On a brighter note, we commemorate here the birthday of Pamela Lyndon Travers on 9 August. Born in 1899, she was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist, popularly remembered for her series of children's novels about the mystical nanny Mary Poppins. Seeing the myriad Mary Poppinses working their magic at the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games in London was a happy reminder of Pamela Travers’s special genius.