Hello! I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend, I had my first field hockey game of the season on Saturday and I am a tad bit sore still! Today, it is a bit more of a different post…
Tomorrow here in Australia is ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) Day. On the 25th of April, every year, we take time to remember the soldiers that risked their lives for our country in WWI.
Many of the soldiers that set off for Gallipoli were only 15-16 years old, they would fake their age to fight for their country. Most of them only volunteered to get away from the farm, they saw it as a holiday.
Anyway, today I would like to list some books based around war. Personally, I really enjoy reading books that revolve around war, I just find it so interesting. This list is going to be in two parts; part one will be Fiction books based around both WWI and WWII, and part two will be Non-Fiction books in WWI.
This post will probably bore most of you, but I really wanted to do this kind of post for ANZAC Day.
Fiction Novels – WWI and WWI
War Horse By Michael Morpurgo
A powerful tale of war, redemption and a hero’s journey.
In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey’s courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer’s son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?
The Book Theif by Markus Zusak
It’s just a small story really, about among other things: a girl, some words, an accordionist, some fanatical Germans, a Jewish fist-fighter, and quite a lot of thievery…
Set during World War II in Germany, Markus Zusak’s groundbreaking new novel is the story of Liesel Meminger, a foster girl living outside of Munich. Liesel scratches out a meagre existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist–books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbours during bombing raids as well as with the Jewish man hidden in her basement before he is marched to Dachau.
This is an unforgettable story about the ability of books to feed the soul.
The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
Berlin, 1942: When Bruno returns home from school one day, he discovers that his belongings are being packed in crates. His father has received a promotion and the family must move to a new house far, far away, where there is no one to play with and nothing to do. A tall fence stretches as far as the eye can see and cuts him off from the strange people in the distance.
But Bruno longs to be an explorer and decides that there must be more to this desolate new place than meets the eye. While exploring his new environment, he meets another boy whose life and circumstances are very different from his own, and their meeting results in a friendship that has devastating consequences.
The Water Diviner by Andrew Anastasios and Meaghan Wilson-Anastasios
When the Great War ends, Joshua Connor, a grieving farmer and sometime water diviner from the Mallee in Victoria, sets out to fulfil his wife’s dying wish – to travel to Gallipoli to recover the bodies of his three sons and bury them in consecrated ground. Crescent collides with cross, and hope with reason as he discovers that his eldest son, Art, may still be alive. When Connor makes a desperate dash into the perilous heart of Anatolia one question haunts him: If Art is alive, why hasn’t he come home?
This is not a war novel, not even an anti-war novel. Instead, it focuses on the battles that go on inside the hearts and minds of a small group of Australians and Turks as they struggle to bury their dead and rebuild their lives after the First World War. The story is based on first-hand resources, diaries and official records.
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
At the heart of Catch-22 resides the incomparable, malingering bombardier, Yossarian, a hero endlessly inventive in his schemes to save his skin from the horrible chances of war.
His problem is Colonel Cathcart, who keeps raising the number of missions the men must fly to complete their service. Yet if Yossarian makes any attempts to excuse himself from the perilous missions that he’s committed to flying, he’s trapped by the Great Loyalty Oath Crusade, the bureaucratic rule from which the book takes its title: a man is considered insane if he willingly continues to fly dangerous combat missions, but if he makes the necessary formal request to be relieved of such missions, the very act of making the request proves that he’s sane and therefore, ineligible to be relieved.
Non-Fiction Novels – WWI
Gallipoli by Peter Fitzsimons
On 25 April 1915, Allied forces landed on the Gallipoli Peninsula in present-day Turkey to secure the sea route between Britain and France in the west and Russia in the east. After eight months of terrible fighting, they would fail.
Turkey regards the victory to this day as a defining moment in its history, a heroic last stand in the defence of the nation’s Ottoman Empire. But, counter-intuitively, it would signify something perhaps even greater for the defeated Australians and New Zealanders involved: the birth of their countries’ sense of nationhood.
An ANZAC’s Story by Roy Kyle
Roy Kyle started writing his remarkable memoirs at the age of eighty-nine and almost completed his story before he died. Kyle was a typical Anzac and one of the last to leave Gallipoli.
The introduction is written by Bryce Courtenay.
Lost Boys of ANZAC by Peter Stanley
Australians remember the dead of 25 April 1915 on Anzac Day every year. But does anyone know the name of a single soldier who died that day? What do we really know about the men supposedly most cherished in the national memory of war? Peter Stanley goes looking for the lost boys of Anzac: the men of the very first wave to land at dawn on 25 April 1915 and who died on that day. There were exactly 101 of them: the first to volunteer, the first to go into action, and the first of the 60,000 Australians killed in that conflict. Lost Boys of Anzac traces who these men were, where they came from, and why they came to volunteer for the AIF in 1914. It follows what happened to them in uniform and, using sources overlooked for nearly a century, uncovers where and how they died, on the ridges and gullies of Gallipoli—where most of them remain to this day. It shows how the lost boys were remembered by those who knew and loved them, and how they have since faded from memory.
Fromelles and Poziéres: In the Trenches of Hell by Peter Fitzsimons
On 19 July 1916, 7000 Australian soldiers – in the first major action of the AIF on the Western Front – attacked entrenched German positions at Fromelles, in northern France. By the next day, no fewer than 5500 were wounded and just under 1900 were dead – a bloodbath that the Australian War Memorial describes as ‘the worst 24 hours in Australia’s entire history’.
Just days later, three Australian Divisions attacked German positions at nearby Pozières, and over the next six weeks, they suffered another 23,000 casualties. Of that bitter battle, the great Australian war correspondent Charles Bean would write, ‘The field of Pozières is more consecrated by Australian fighting and more hallowed by Australian blood than any field which has ever existed…’
Yet the sad truth is that nearly a century on from those battles, Australians know only a fraction of what occurred. This book brings the battles back to life and puts the reader in the moment, illustrating both the heroism displayed and the insanity of the British plan. With his extraordinary vigour and commitment to research, Peter FitzSimons shows why this is a story about which all Australians can be proud. And angry.
The Lost Diggers by Ross Coulthart
‘It’s a treasure trove. It’s previously unknown, candid images of our troops just out of the line. Men with the fear and experiences of the battle written on their faces.’ General Peter Cosgrove A must-have for fans of Australian World War I history. Ross Coulthart of 7s ‘Sunday Night’ brings together never-before-seen images of Western Front diggers and the amazing stories behind them in a beautiful collection that’s part thriller, part family history and part national archive. The Lost Diggers is the riveting detective story of the hunt across northern France to Vignacourt for a rumoured treasure trove of antique glass photographic plates that led investigative journalist Ross Coulthart to an ancient metal chest in a dusty attic in a small farmhouse. The nearly 4000 glass plates taken by Louis and Antoinette Thuillier that he and his team discovered are being hailed by experts as one of the most important First World War discoveries ever made. But that was just the beginning. With meticulous research and the help of descendants, Coulthart has been able to discover the stories behind many of the photos, of which more than 330 appear in the book. The book’s release coincided with an exhibition of the photos at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra.
I haven’t read most of these books, but my Dad has and says they’re very good, but please don’t take my word for it. ANZAC Day is very important to me and my family and it means so much to us, having had past members of our family in the army.
I hope you did enjoy this of you lasted this long, and enjoy the rest of your day!
SIDE NOTE: Yes, I have changed my blog header, end card and top image again *facepalm*, but I have finally made a header that is a lot more personal and professional. I am really happy with it!