'Around the country, bronze soldiers in slouch hats stand silently at attention. It is the Anzacs' remarkable writing that reveals the lives behind the national legend.
In the Trenches is a collection of gripping, awe-inspiring and sometimes terrifying accounts of life at the front, recorded by those who lived through the fighting.
Drawn from diaries, memoirs and letters, as well as poetry, reportage and prose, this writing reminds us that the Anzac legend is rooted in real and tragic circumstances on a heartbreakingly human scale. Belying the common perception of the laconic digger, these compelling voices convey the range of wartime experience, from the desolation and horror to the unbridled excitement and camaraderie. Through it all runs the bleak toll on young lives.
Author and journalist Mark Dapin has selected writing from those on the frontlines as well as behind the scenes, from officers and soldiers to nurses, engineers and reporters, to create a volume that will be regarded as the definitive record of the personal experiences that forged the emerging national identities of Australia and New Zealand.' (Publisher's blurb)
'At the outbreak of World War I, Dominic Langton leaves his wife on a remote sheep farm in New South Wales to enlist in the British Army. What he experiences in the trenches changes him forever; his return home sees him cast off his past and find his own integrity. He has seen the true nature of war–the senseless waste of life, the millions of young men condemned to pointless slaughter–and has emerged a wiser, but troubled, man.
'When Blackbirds Sing is a masterful recreation of the vanished world of 1914, and a moving and powerful testament to the devastation of war. In this final instalment of Martin Boyd's celebrated Langton Quartet, Boyd confirms his reputation as one of the most outstanding novelists Australia has ever produced. ' (Publication summary)