'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)
'One hundred years after the charge of the 4th Light Horse Brigade at Beersheba in October 1917...The Desert Column is based on the diaries that he kept through out the war. Published in 1932, it is one of Idriess' earliest works. Harry Chauvel noted in the foreword that it was the only book of the campaign that to his knowledge was "viewed entirely from the private soldier's point of view"...Idriess served as a sniper with the 5th Australian Light Horse. Enlisting in 1914, he began his diary "as we crowded the decks off Gallipoli" and he continued writing until returning to Australia...The diaries cover his experience of some of the war's major events from life in the trenches at Gallipoli to the battles at Romani and Beersheba. One of Idriess' strengths as a writer is his ability to place the reader at the scene of the action...The diaries reveal a keenness of observation and a descriptive and pacey style that Idriess would develop further in The Desert Column.' (Synopsis)