As a relatively young nation, there are few things that define us as a people more than the wars Australian's have fought in, and, in particular, the bloody battle on the Gallipoli Peninsula that claimed so many lives (and forged our reputation as willing to fight the good fight under next-to-impossible conditions).
Of the 332,000 men who left Australia to fight in the Great War, 60,000 died - with there being approximately 215,000 casualties. On the peninsula itself 8,709 Australian men died and 19,441 were wounded. All told, it is estimated that of the 1 million men (from both sides) who served at Gallipoli, between one-third and one-half were casualties.
Although there are arguably more historically important battles to Australia, none have captured our collective imagination like Gallipoli - the first real time we strode onto the world stage in a significant (if tragically wasted) role.
One of Les Carlyon's intentions in writing his epic book Gallipoli (first released in 2001 and re-issued to coincide with Anzac Day in 2003) is to remind people that behind the Anzac legends of heroic self-sacrifice will always lie the reality of the fear, destruction and death that the soldiers who fought there (on both sides) experienced.
'Gallipoli' also manages to combine the tremendous amount of research required (much conducted on the peninsula itself) with an absorbing and highly literary prose style that draws you in (and keeps you intently reading) from the very first pages.
Moving from single acts of heroism to military blunders of colossal proportions, it is a book to be read again and again as new details present themselves and the 'reality' of the big picture sinks in for those of us lucky enough never to have been through such an experience.
'Gallipoli' by Les Carlyon has been justly and widely praised as the definitive account of the battle that forged our Anzac tradition. It is highly recommended reading." - a partial extract from a review by Jeremy Fenton, Word on Books
List of Maps
Part 1: Of Mice and Men
1. The Earth Abideth Forever
2. Four Men and the Road from Omdurman
3. The Devil at Two-and-a-Half Fathoms
4. The Old Man and the Sea
5. The Battle of March 18
6. By Chaos Out of Pandemonium
7. 'Him and me are Mates'
Part 2: Attrition
8. Almost a Sight for the Gods
9. The Loss of the Heights
10. The Legend Begins
11. And the Sea Ran Red
12. The Morning After
13. Krithia, Battle Done Badly
14. Heroes and Myths
15. Death by Suicide
16. The Most Savage Must Weep
17. If Only ....
Part 3: The Last Throw Reviews:
19. A Scapegoat, Made to Order
20. Lone Piner
21. The Breakout
22. The Voyage of the 'Jonquil'
23. Goodbye, Cobber. God Bless You
24. Loitering Without Intent
25. The Martyr of Chunuk Bair
26. A Man Alone
27. Death by Avalanche
28. One Fine Class
29. All for Nothing
30. The Pen is Mightier
31. We Go, We Stay, We Freeze
32. Goodbye to All That
33. A Terrible Beauty
'... the book of the year ... Gallipoli is just the most stunning account of the Anzac boneyard' - Alan Ramsey, Sydney Morning Herald
'Carlyon's towering accomplishment is to have combined meticulous thorough research with a superbly readable style ... richly and instantly accessibly' - Yorkshire Evening Post
'A hard-hitting and heart-breaking book' - Richard Holmes, author of 'The Western Front'
'An enthralling account of an appalling fiasco' - Peter Porter, Spectator