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Kokoda (by Paul Ham)

By: Paul Ham
Narrated by: Peter Byrne
Length: 21 hrs and 20 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (79 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

In a unique and balanced portrayal, renowned journalist Paul Ham recounts both the Australian and Japanese perspectives of the events on the hellish Papuan jungle trail where thousands fought and died during World War II.

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’.

Paul Ham captures the spirits of those soldiers and commanders who clashed in this war of exceptional savagery, and tells of the brave souls on both sides of the campaign whose courage and sacrifices must never be forgotten.

©2004 Paul Ham (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"If you read just one book about the Kokoda Track, this should be it." ( Courier Mail)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Pulls no Punchs

This is an excellent coverage of a little know battle. The author plays a fair hand and spares nobody. The coverage is broad but the detail is there in the right places. The narrator has that great Australian accent that is both clear and easy on the ears.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Understand the campaign, understand Australia

This is the campaign where Australia shows itself, warts and all to be the fighting nation its reputation claims to be. With cowards, heroes, leaders both great and foolish this book shows it all. The waste, the miss opportunities and the Japanese cruelty and fighting spirit, this book covers almost everything. This campaign is the true Anzac spirit and should never be forgotten. I would even go to say this campaign meant more to Australia than the Gallipoli campaign. This book narrated by Peter Byrne is excellent.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A haunting history of sacrifice and missed chances

Would you consider the audio edition of Kokoda to be better than the print version?

The audio performance is top notch! The Australian accent of the narrator as well as his ability to deliver the Japanese side in a believable accent as well helped make this audiobook on of my most enjoyable.

What other book might you compare Kokoda to and why?

As far as a book detailing an actual battle this compares to the classic ENEMY AT THE GATES by William Craig, a factual and in depth account of the Battle for Stalingrad. In Kokoda Paul Ham has captured the same amount of detail involving high level military, political and cultural maneuvers without losing the grit and blood of the men fighting to the death along the Kokoda Track.

What does Peter Byrne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

Again the accents, both Australian and Japanese well read in detail and conversational dialogue make this a fantastic audio presentation

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Yes.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Give it some time

At first, I found Kokoda a little awkward. The book opens with events out of chronological sequence and the narrator approximates a Japanese accent when reading quotes from Japanese sources. However, you soon begin to appreciate the author's willingness to use both Western and Australian sources and tell both sides of the story. The reading also grows on you as the work progresses and th narrator really does make excellent use of different Australian accents. The end result is an engrossing vocal performance and excellent well researched story.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Best story of Kokoda Trekk

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Definately worth reading/listening to: Impressed by the writers ability to put both sides of events to paper without bias and presenting the Kokoda story without watering it down.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Kokoda?

The difficulties the diggers faced not only against the enemy also with the Australian Government, some their superiors and American Allies who had very little knowledge of the environment and hardships they face amoungst adversity.

What does Peter Byrne bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

An easy to llisten to person who done an excellent job in narrating the book and his ability to add different voices when reading

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

There were to many moments in the book that moved me to mention

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • andy
  • 10-20-10

kOkODA

Another very well written account of this particular conflict. Paul Ham has become one of my favourite writers and Peter Byrne does a brilliant job with the narration. I have never been disapointed by anything from these two guys, well worth a listen, and if you like this look for 'THE AUSTRLIAN WAR' by the same Paul Ham. an account of the australian 'digger' in Vietnam.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Theresa Thornton
  • 05-02-15

Expanding my world

I am amazed how insular my world view is. The sacrifice of life is vividly written and the acts of bravery described Listening on the bus made me cry, The tales of back stabbing military high commands and policticl in fighting. made me angry

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  • w
  • 06-07-14

A Most Enlightening read

A brilliantly put together story of anecdotal accounts and documentary evidence gathered by the author.
Not an adventure story in the true meaning of the word,but one that the reader can fully immerse himself, reliving the bloody battles fought by the Australian Armed Forces.
So vividly outlined,one could almost smell the jungle,the stench of death and marvel at the poor leadership that cost so men young men their lives.A first class read.
W Granfield.England.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Dave
  • 04-26-14

Awesome storytelling

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

This real life saga makes you think you are there, living one the edge, from both sides.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Kokoda?

The Japanese guns abandoned and pulling out

What about Peter Byrne’s performance did you like?

General good use of his voice.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh yeh. I listened when traveling. Could not wait for the next trip for work. Took a couple of weeks to get through.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-30-19

A huge part of Australian history

A well researched and presented book describing in stunning details both sides of the battle without any form of white wash.

A truly great author.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Andrew
  • 04-30-19

Best treatment of a poorly known campaign outside

This is a very insightful and well researched book that covers the torrid conditions that faced a few militia that faced overwhelming until reinforced by seasoned Australian troops. What made it more amazing was the absolute disconnect and intelligence failure of those military commanders Australian and American who directed the battle who had no idea of what they asked these men to do.

Many years ago I knew a man from the 39th who fought on the track. He never spoke much of what it was like. I can not tell you how hearing this book markedly increased my respect for this man and men like him had to fight in this battle.

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  • mr squiggle
  • 04-23-19

Great Book

I love Paul Ham's writings; this is an excellent book. Great detail, good reader. All in all, just a great book.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-17-19

Kokoda

Once again Paul Ham has written an amazing book. This title is in depth and concise though still manages to mention stories involving the people who were there. This is the way all history books should be written.