'We were all skin and bone, as if our stomachs were stuck to the inside wall of our back' ...
Two armies, Japanese and Australia, each in turn pushing the other back along a muddy, precipitous track over the mountainous spine of New Guinea. Few prisoners were taken, most were shot. War conventions were routinely flouted, by both sides. Troops were reduced to a primal level, such were the inhuman conditions in which battles were waged. This was the Kokoda campaign of 1942.
The Australian experience of Kokoda has been told often and told well. The Japanese, however, remain the shadowy enemy lurking in the dense undergrowth, better known for atrocities that their participation in the battle. 'The Path of Infinite Sorrow' tells for the first time the story of the campaign from the Japanese point of view. Based on personal accounts and the recollections of six Japanese soldiers, captured diaries and the unit diaries of the Australian forces, this powerful re-examination of Kokoda brings a new perspective to one of the most brutal conflicts in Australian war history.
1. On Ioribaiwa Ridge
2. Empire and emperor
3. The road to total war
4. From the mountains to the sea
5. Forward to Rabaul
6. The taking of Kokoda
7. The fateful day
8. Milne Bay
9. To the end of the line
10. 'Change the marching direction'
11. Buying time
12. General Horii's last stand
13. Dug in on swampland
14. Madness to desperation
15. On the track to Sanananda
16. Buna falls
18. The long journey home
19. Out of the ashes
20. The path of infinite sorrow
Appendix 1. Japanese soldiers appearing in this book
Appendix 2. The Japanese military hierarchy