'From the cliffs of Gallipoli, through the jungles of Vietnam, to the deserts of Afghanistan and Iraq, Australia's short history is a story of war.
'The battlefield has shaped the way we define ourselves - the Australian values of mateship, courage under fire, larrikinism - but few of us have witnessed these scenes firsthand. Soldiers writing from the front and journalists on the ground have formed the way we think about war and so formed the way we think about ourselves.
'In The Penguin Book of Australian War Writing, author and journalist Mark Dapin has gathered together the finest of these accounts. Starting with Watkin Tench's observations of an Aboriginal war party, we see the terror, confusion and occasional heroics of the front line through the eyes of some of our best writers, including AB Paterson, Martin Boyd, Patrick White, Alan Moorehead, Kenneth Slessor, Peter Cundall and Barry Heard.
'These remarkable letters, diaries, memoirs and reports remind us of our history, and of our responsibility in recording and remembering what happens in the wars we send our soldiers to fight. (From the publisher's website.)
'Covering the period January 1944 to March 1949, the extraordinary life of Australian artist Donald Friend continues in The Diaries of Donald Friend Volume 2. This is the second of four casebound volumes published by the National Library, revealing Friend's fine powers of observation, his irreverence and wit, his sensitivity and his marvellous eloquence. The diaries speak about art, love, friendship, travel, and much more, making absorbing reading as Friend experiences his final years of war service, both in Brisbane and as an official war artist; his return to Sydney where he lived with fellow artists in the colonial mansion Merioola; his travels to the Torres Strait Islands; and time spent in the old gold-mining town of Hill End. Including over 100 drawings from the diaries, this book is an essential publication for all lovers of art and great writing. Published under the auspices of the Morris West Trust Fund.' (Publication summary)