Book Reviews

These reviews represent the personal opinion of the reviewer and do not reflect the official position of the Royal United Services Institute of Victoria Inc. They are presented to allow readers to evaluate readings on defence, both past and current.

Click on the book cover to get to the Book Review

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1000 Days on the River Kwai

The secret diary of a British Camp Commandant

 

Colonel Cary Owtram, OBE

Pen & Sword Military 2017

Hardback   151pp   RRP $38.77

 

Reviewer:  Neville Taylor, April 2021

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A Secret Australia
Revealed by the WikiLeaks exposés

Felicity Ruby and Peter Cronau (Eds)
Clayton, Melbourne: Monash University Publishing, 2020
Paperback  255pp   RRP $29.95

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, February 2021

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Blind Strategist

John Boyd and the American Art of War

 

Stephen Robinson

Melbourne: Exisle Publishing, 2021

Hardcover    360pp    RRP $49.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, April 2021

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Dark Secrets
The True Story of Murder in HMAS Australia

Robert Hadler
Melbourne: Wilkinson Publishing, 2020
Paperback   320pp   RRP $29.99

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, April 2021

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Fremantle’s Submarines

How Allied Submariners and Western Australians Helped to Win the War in the Pacific

 

Michael Sturma

Annapolis, Maryland USA: Naval Institute Press 2015

Hardcover  248pp  RRP A$62.25

 

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, April 2021

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Godley
The man behind the myth

Terry Kinloch
Dunedin, NZ: Exisle Publishing, 2018
Hardback   328pp   RRP $59.99

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, April 2021
 

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Law, Politics and Intelligence

A Life of Robert Hope

Peter Edwards

New South Books, 2020

Hardback   416pp     RRP $49.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, May 2021

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Military Ethics and Leadership


Peter H. J. Olsthoorn (Ed)
Leiden, Netherlands: Brill Publishing, 2017
Hardback     308pp     RRP $286.90

Reviewer: Robert Dixon, March 2021

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No Ordinary Determination

Percy Black and Harry Murray of the First AIF

2nd Edition

 

Jeff Hatwell

Fremantle, WA: Fremantle Press,  2014

Paperback   340pp   RRP $24.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, May 2001

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On Our Doorstep
When Australia faced the threat of invasion by the Japanese

Craig Collie
Gosford, NSW: Allen & Unwin 2021
Paperback   416pp    RRP $32.99

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, March 2021
 

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Secret & Special
The untold story of Z Special Unit in the Second World War

Will Davies
Melbourne: Vintage (Penguin Random House), 2021
Paperback   400pp    RRP $34.99

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, March 2021
 

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The Changing of the Guard
The British Army since 9/11

Simon Akam
Brunswick, Vic: Scribe Publications, 2021
Hardcover   704pp   RRP $60.00

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, April 2021
 

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The Lost Boys
The untold stories of the under-age soldiers who fought in the First World War

Paul Byrnes
South Melbourne: Affirm Press, 2019
Paperback  368pp   RRP $45.00

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, April 2021
 

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Wars without End
New Zealand's Land Wars - A Māori Perspective


Danny Keenan
New Zealand: Penguin NZ, 2021
Paperback   304pp    RRP $34.99

Reviewer: Robert Ellis, April 2021
 

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South Pacific Air War

Volume 4

 Buna and Milne Bay June - September 1942

Michael Claringbould & Peter Ingman

Kent Town, SA: Avonmore Books, 2020;

Softcover   180pp   RRP $44.95

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, March 2021

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Bay of Pigs

CIA’s Cuban Disaster, April 1961

[Cold War 1945 - 1991 Series]

 

Phil Carradice

Barnsley, UK:  Pen & Sword Military    2018

Paperback  136pp   RRP $39.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, December 2020

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Pure Massacre

Aussie soldiers reflect on the Rwandan Genocide

 

Kevin O’Halloran

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing 2020

Paperback  303pp  $29.99

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, December 2020

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The Ottoman Army and the First World War

Mesut Uyar

Abingdon, United Kingdom: Routledge 2021

Hardback    466 + xviii pp., illus., maps  

  RRP $236.72

 

Reviewer: Michael Tyquin, January 2021

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Atomic Salvation

How the A-Bomb attacks saved the lives of 32 million people

 

Tom Lewis

Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Paperback   364pp  RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Robert Ellis, February 2021

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The Korean Kid

A young Australian pilot’s baptism of fire

in the jet fighter age

 

Rochelle Nicholls

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Paperback  340pp   RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, February 2021

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Dunera Lives. Volume 2

Profiles

 

Ken Inglis et al

Clayton, Vic: Monash University Publishing, 2020
Paperback   512pp  RRP $39.95

 

Reviewer:  Neville Taylor, February 2021

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The Death of Glory

The Western Front, 1915

 

Robin Neillands

London: John Murray, 2006

Paperback 298pp   RRP: $39.95

 

Reviewer:  Mike O’Brien, February 2021

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Britain at Bay

The epic story of the Second World War: 1938-1941

 

Alan Allport

Gosford, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2020

Hardback   608pp   RRP $49.99

 

Reviewer: Robert Ellis, February 2012

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Letters from the veldt

The imperial advance to Pretoria through the eyes of

Edward Hutton and his brigade of colonials

 

Craig Stockings

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing 2020

Paperback  286pp  RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, December 2020

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You Shouldn't Have Joined ...

A memoir

 

Sir Peter Cosgrove

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2020

Hardcover  440pp  $49.99

 

Reviewer: RUSI-VIC, November 2020

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William Holmes

The Soldiers' General

 

Geoffrey Travers

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Hardback  424pp  RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, November 2020

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Radio Girl

The story of the extraordinary Mrs Mac,

pioneering engineer and wartime legend

 

David Dufty

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2020.

Paperback   312pp   RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Joy Cullen, November 2020

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The Gallipoli Evacuation

 

Peter Hart

Manly, NSW: Living History, 2020

Paperback  312pp   RRP$35.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, November 2020

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Red Lead

The legendary Australian ship's cat who survived the sinking of HMAS Perth and the Thai-Burma Railway

 

Roland Perry

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2020

Paperback  344pp  RRP 29.99

 

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, November 2020

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Our Mob Served

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Histories of War and Defending Australia

 

 

Allison Cadzow, Mary Anne Jebb (Eds)

Northcote, Vic: Aboriginal Studies Press,  2019

Paperback   320pp RRP $39.95

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, November 2020

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For Valour

Australians Awarded the Victoria Cross

Aaron Pegram, Craig Blanch

Randwick, NSW: NewSouth Books, 2018

Hardback    512pp  $79.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, 1 December 2020

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For Gallantry

Australians awarded the George Cross

& the Cross of Valour

 

Craig Blanch

Randwick, NSW: NewSouth Books, 2020

Hardback   192pp   RRP $69.99

 

Reviewer:  Neville Taylor, November 2020

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Combat Medic

An Australian’s eyewitness account of the Kibeho Massacre

 

Terry Pickard

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Paperback   188pp   $24.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, November 2020

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Endell Street

The Women who ran Britain’s Trailblazing Military Hospital

 

Wendy Moore

London, Allen & Unwin (Atlantic Books), 2020

Hardcover   384pp    RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Joy Cullen, November 2020

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Australians and the First World War

Local-Global Connections and Contexts

Kate Ariotti, James E Bennett (Eds.)

USA, Springer Nature Publishing: (Palgrave Macmillan) 2017

Hardcover  272pp    RRP $169.00

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, September 2020

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ANZUK

What was it?

 

Colin Campbell

Canberra: Camp Bell Publishing,  2020

Paperback   278pp    RRP $34.99

Reviewer: Michael O’Brien, October 2020

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China’s Grand Strategy and Australia’s Future

in the New Global Order

 

Geoff Raby

Carlton, Vic: Melbourne University Press, 2020

Paperback   232pp    RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Bruce Brown, October 2020

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COSSAC

 Lt. Gen. Sir Frederick Morgan and the Genesis of Operation OVERLORD

(Studies in Naval History and Sea Power)

Annapolis, Maryland, US: Naval Institute Press, 2020

Hardcover   336pp  RRP $64.25

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, August 2020

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Counter Attack: Villers-Bretonneux

April 1918

[Australian Army History Series]

 

 Peter Edgar

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing   16 Mar 2020

Paperback   160pp   RRP $19.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, November 2020

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In the Footsteps of the First

1st Australian Light Horse Regiment

1st Edition

 

Anne Flood

Wagga Wagga, N.S.W.: Triple D Books, 2012

Paperback   188pp    RRP $39.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, September 2020

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In the Footsteps of the First

The History of the 1st Light Horse Regiment AIF 1916 – 1919

Anne Flood

Wagga Wagga, NSW: Anne L Flood, 2019

Paperback  418pp  RRP $45.00

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, September 2020

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Right Man, Right Place, Worst Time

Commander Eric Feldt His Life and His Coastwatchers

 

 

Dr Betty Lee

Boolarong Press 2019

Paperback  330pp  RRP 32.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, October 2020

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The Last Navigator

 

Paul Goodwin with Gordon Goodwin

Crows Nest NSW: Allen & Unwin,  2020

Paperback   352pp    RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, June 2020

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U-Boat Commander Oskar Kusch

Anatomy of a Nazi-Era Betrayal and Judicial Murder

 

Eric Rust

Annapolis, Maryland, US: Naval Institute Press, 2020

Hardcover   384pp  RRP A$64.25

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, October 2020

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A Rat of Tobruk

A Digger’s Lost Images of the Siege

 

Mike Rosel

North Melbourne: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2020

Paperback   108pp.   RRP $29.95

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, July 2020

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Surviving the Great War
Australian prisoners of war on the Western Front 1916-18

[Australian Army History Series]

Aaron Pegram

Port Melbourne, Vic: Cambridge University Press, 2020

Hardcover   xvii, 261pp.   RRP $59.95

 

Reviewer: Michael O’Brien, June 2020

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Brisbane at War

1899 - 1918

 

Barry Shaw (Ed)

Tingalpa QLD: Boolarong Press  2017

Paperback    252pp   RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, July 2020

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The Cost of War

War, Return and the Re-Shaping of Australian Culture

 

Stephen Garton

Sydney: Sydney University Press, 2020

Paperback   308pp  RRP $40.00

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, July 2020

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Clash of the Gods of War

Australian Artillery and

the Firepower Lessons of the Great War

 

William Westerman & Nicholas Floyd (Eds)

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Hardback   ix, 480pp.   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Michael O’Brien, June 2020

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The Grand Deception

Churchill and the Dardanelles

 

Tom Curran

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2015.

Hardcover   318pp.     RRP:  $34.99

 

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, July 2020

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Hospital Ships

 

Rupert Goodman

Tingalpa Qld: Boolarong Press, 2016

Paperback   310pp.   RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, July 2020

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The Making of Warriors

The story of the 2/1st Infantry Battalion

The City of Sydney Regiment 1939-1942

 

Graham J Smith

Dural, NSW: Rosenberg Publishing, 2020.

Paperback   248pp    RRP $34.95­­

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, August 2020

Military Law in Australia

Robin CreykeDale Stephens and Peter Sutherland (Eds)

Alexandria, NSW: Federation Press and Softlaw Community Projects  2019

Paperback xxiv + 395pp  RRP $130.00

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, June 2020

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The Ratline

Love, Lies and Justice on  the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive

Philippe Sands

London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson (Hachette UK),  2020

Paperback   431pp    RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, July 2020

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Nazi Dreamtime

Australian Enthusiasm for Hitler’s Germany

 

David S Bird

North Melbourne Vic: Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2012.

Paperback   xviii + 448pp  RRP $44.00

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, June 2020

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The Thousand Doors

Australian Doctors at War Vol 4,

The Middle East and Far East 1939 - 1942

Colonel Robert Likeman.

Braddon, Australian Capital Territory: Halstead Press, 2019

Hardcover   463pp   RRP  $65.00

 

Reviewer: Robert Dixon, June 2020

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Oil under Troubled Water

Australia's Timor Sea Intrigue

 

Bernard Collaery

Melbourne: Melbourne University Publishing Academic,  2020

Paperback   277pp    RRP $39.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, June 2020

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The Vietnam War

An Intimate History

 

Geoffrey C Ward and Ken Burns

London: Ebury Press, 2019

Paperback   xiii + 826 pp     RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, June 2020

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Radar Gunner

Dick Dakeyne, DFC

Coolalinga NT:   David M Welch, 2015

Hardback 142pp   RRP $29.95

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, August 2020

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World War II at Sea

A Global History

 

Craig L Symonds

Oxford University Press   2018

Hardback   792pp   RRP $55.95

 

Reviewer: Michael Hili, May 2020

Counter Attack: Villers-Bretonneux

April 1918

[Australian Army History Series]

 

 

Peter Edgar

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing   16 Mar 2020

Paperback   160pp   RRP $19.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, November 2020