'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)
'In September 1915, Keith Murdoch, then a young war journalist, wrote an 8000-word letter to the Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher. "The Gallipoli Letter", as it came to be known, changed the course of the Gallipoli campaign.
'The letter, protesting against the conduct of the campaign and describing conditions at the front, is both intimate and conversational: "I shall talk to you as if you were by my side." It is also at times angry, passionate, vivid and very moving: "Then in the early hours came the landing, when the life of man is at its lowest." At times, it is simply heartbreaking: "The heroic Fourth Brigade was reduced in three day's fighting to little more than 1000 strong. You will be glad to know that the men died well."
'The letter changed the course of the campaign: Hamilton, the general in charge of the campaign, was sent home, and the Allies were withdrawn in December of the same year.
'The Gallipoli Letter is an inspiring document. It speaks directly to us about war, our history and the indomitable Australian spirit. Accessible and compelling, it should be read by everyone - it is a vital part of our history and the enduring ANZAC legend.' (From the publisher's website.)