'Gallipoli, for the average Australian, is the most famous battle that our volunteer soldiers ever fought, because it was our first entry as a nation into the war, and our people were keen to prove themselves. It would be, however, a long time before the families back home, and the nation as a whole, heard of the terrible conditions on the peninsula and the waste of life that took place there. Although Gallipoli was a crushing defeat, it was, and still is, celebrated as a victory.
'In this updated commemorative edition, published 100 years after the 25 April 1915 landing, the Gallipoli story is told day by day, using the words of the diggers, drivers, soldiers, and war correspondents at the front-line. War historian Jonathan King has gathered together an unequalled series of extracts from letters and diaries, written by hundreds of Anzacs at Gallipoli, accounting for every one of the 240 days of the eight-month campaign — and even identifying the actual days of the week. Reading the men's own words, including misspellings and mistakes, we share in the soldiers' experiences.
'These Australians, of exceptional calibre and good cheer, each wrote for different reasons, although many made light of their hardships. It is all here — the fear, the frustration, and the boredom, as they scrounged for bully beef; went mad from the flies, the lice, and the stench of the unburied dead; swapped cigarettes with enemy Turks; dodged shrapnel while swimming at the beach; celebrated birthdays; sheltered from rain and shivered in snow; and waited for action while praying for deliverance.
'Although generals, historians, and war scholars have had their stories told many times, it is only now, when we read the private words of the men at the front-line, that we can glimpse what Gallipoli was really like.' (Publication summary 2014 edition)
Hidden under the shadow of Gallipoli for decades, the breathtaking story of what really happened on the Western Front has finally been brought into the bright light of day.
'Five times greater than Gallipoli, the Western Front had:
'Thankfully, the diggers serving in this first Australian Army Corps and under an Australian commander for the first time, actually helped win the war.
'Using hundreds of brutally honest and extraordinary eyewitness accounts of the diggers in the muddy and bloody trenches, Western Front Diaries reproduces their private diaries, letters and postcards to tell of their heart-rending experiences, battle by bloody battle.
'With its gallery of unpublished photographs, Western Front Diaries tells without embellishment the stories of the Australian soldiers and finally puts the Western Front on the map. (From the publisher's website.)
'Culminating with the cavalry charge at Beersheba on 31 October 1917, Palestine Diaries is the story of Australia's Light Horsemen of WWI, told in their own brutally honest words - day by day, battle after bloody battle.
'One hundred years after that now-legendary battle - widely considered the last great cavalry charge - Dr. Jonathan King argues that the breathtaking achievement of the 4th Light Horse Brigade should become the cornerstone of our national identity.
'The soldiers in these pages were the first to achieve incredible victories for their new nation - ahead of the Western Front, and unlike the defeats of Gallipoli. These young Australians helped demolish the centuries-old Ottoman Empire by driving the Turks from the strategic Suez Canal across the Sinai, and up through Palestine, Jordan, and Syria to be first into the enemy stronghold of Damascus - a victory that would not only change the course of the war, but would also plant the seeds of the modern Middle Eastern conflicts.
'Published together here, many for the first time, are the diaries, letters, and photos of those brave young men, whose service and sacrifice helped shape a nation.' (Publication summary)