From Paul Ham, winner of the NSW Premier's Prize for Australian History, comes the story of ordinary men in the grip of a political and military power struggle that determined their fate and has foreshadowed the destiny of the world for a century. Passchendaele epitomises everything that was most terrible about the Western Front. The photographs never sleep of this four-month battle, fought from July to November 1917, the worst year of the war.
"Very compelling - good story, good narration"
Christmas 1913: In Britain, people are debating a new dance called ‘the tango’. In Germany, they are fascinated by the wedding of the Kaiser’s daughter to the Duke of Brunswick. Little did they know that their world was on ‘The Eve of War’, a catastrophe that was to engulf the continent, cost millions of lives, and change the course of the century. And yet behind the scenes, the Great Powers were marching towards what they thought was an inevitable conflict.
"Mediocre, neither good nor bad"
The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 100,000 instantly, mostly women, children, and the elderly. Many hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries later, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness. Yet the bombs were "our least abhorrent choice", American leaders claimed at the time - and still today most people believe they ended the Pacific War and saved millions of American and Japanese lives. Ham challenges this view, arguing that the bombings, when Japan was on its knees, were the culmination of a strategic Allied air war on enemy civilians that began in Germany.
"Amazingly detailed and balanced account."
Drawing on hundreds of accounts by soldiers, politicians, aid workers, entertainers and the Vietnamese people, Paul Ham reconstructs for the first time the full history of our longest military campaign. From the commitment to engage, through the fight over conscription and the rise of the anti - war movement, to the tactics and horror of the battlefi eld, Ham exhumes the truth about this politicians' war - which sealed the fate of 50,000 Australian servicemen and women.
"Fascinating detailed account"
Few years can justly be said to have transformed the earth: 1914 did. In July that year, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Britain and France were poised to plunge the world into a war that would kill or wound 37 million people, tear down the fabric of society, uproot ancient political systems and set the course for the bloodiest century in human history.
"How the war started"
This is the story of the three-year ordeal of the Sandakan prisoners of war - a barely known episode of unimaginable horror. After the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese conquerors transferred 2700 British and Australian prisoners to a jungle camp some eight miles inland of Sandakan, on the east coast of North Borneo. For decades after the Second World War, the Australian and British governments would refuse to divulge what happened here, for fear of traumatising the families of the victims.
"The japanese's shamefull past!"
It was a war without mercy, fought back and forth along 90 miles of river crossings, steep inclines and precipitous descents, with both sides wracked by hunger and disease, and terrified of falling into enemy hands. Defeat was unthinkable: the Australian soldier was fighting for his homeland against an unyielding aggressor; the Japanese ordered to fight to the death in a bid to conquer ‘Greater East Asia’.
"Pulls no Punchs"
If we judge the West by the state of its families, the West is sick. Millions of children barely see their parents, or for only a few minutes a day. One in two families break down, for better or worse. The casualties throng the family courts. Our maladjusted system has made the ideal of 'mom' and 'dad' - i.e. a loving, constant, adult presence in a child's infancy - a rarity. To speak of the 'maternal instinct' still elicits scorn or embarrassment from some feminists, who continue to mock 'holy motherhood'.
How did America choose the targets for the atomic bomb? What made Hiroshima preferable over Kyoto or Tokyo? Critical to the mission to destroy Hiroshima and Nagasaki were a series of meetings set up in mid-1945 and comprising America’s most powerful military, political and scientific chiefs. The committeemen would decide where and how the first nuclear weapons would be used in anger.