'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Monday 25 April 2011

KBR Recommends: Books for ANZAC Day

For such a young country, Australia has an incredibly rich and diverse history. It’s therefore been a joy to witness the increasing spate of excellent historical fiction on the market of late, and the following books are no exception. In honour of one of our country’s most sacred memorial days – ANZAC day – here is a fine collection of books to treat yourself – and your children to. Lest we forget.

Simpson’s Donkey: A wartime journey to Gallipoli and beyond by Peter Stanley
(Pier 9, $14.99, ISBN: 9781741968118, March 2011)

Based on the most famous animal in Australian history Simpon’s Donkey tells the story of the donkey’s service in Gallipoli where for three weeks he helped Simpson carry wounded men down to Anzac Cove.

Author Peter Stanley tells his story - in the donkey’s own voice - taking the reader on a journey from the Aegean island of Lemnos to Gallipoli to Egypt, Palestine and then back to Gallipoli at the end of the Great War.

From beast of burden to hospital pet, to desert supply carrier, the donkey’s story is an adventurous journey on which he meets courage and cruelty, and comradeship.

Aussie Heroes: Sir Edward Weary Dunlop by Hazel Edwards
(New Frontier, $14.95, ISBN: 9781921042706, March 2011)
Ernie Dunlop was determined to become a doctor from an early age.

Born in Melbourne, he was fascinated with both medical science and physical challenges. Whilst studying medicine he earned the nickname ‘Weary’ and gained a reputation as a dedicated doctor and sportsman.

In November 1939, after the outbreak of World War II, Weary signed up for the Australian Army. In April 1942, Weary and his men were captured and became prisoners of war. During this time Weary became known for his leadership and communication skills with the enemy. After the war Weary was committed to caring for war veterans.

Fromelles: Australia’s Bloodiest Day at War by Carole Wilkinson
(Black Dog Books, $18.99, ISBN: 9781742031767, March 2011)

The Battle of Fromelles in France lasted less than 24 hours – in which more than 5000 Australian soldiers were killed, wounded or taken prisoner.

More Australian soldiers died at Fromelles than in the Boer War, Korean War and Vietnam War combined. What was the purpose of this bloody and ultimately pointless loss of life?

And why, almost a century later, did the world’s attention shift to the village of Fromelles?
My Father’s War by Sophie Masson
(Scholastic, $16.99, ISBN: 9781741698282, 1 March 2011)

It scares me a lot, thinking of Dad out there, far away in that dangerous, terrible place, wondering how it will be when he comes back-if he comes back, that is...

Marie's dad has been away for two years, fighting on the Somme battlefields in northern France. For months there has been no word from him, no letters or postcards. Marie and her mother are sick with worry, so they decide to stop waiting-and instead travel to France, to try to find out what has happened to him.

There she experiences first-hand what war is like, as she tries to piece together the clues behind her dad's disappearance. Will Marie ever see her father again?

See our exclusive interview with Sophie Masson tomorrow night on KBR!