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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Aircraft of the Royal Australian Air Force

 

RAAF

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2021

Hardback     640pp   RRP $59.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, February 2022

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Not Playing the Game

Sport and Australia’s Great War

 

Xavier Fowler

Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2021

Softcover     288pp   RRP $39.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, January 2022

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Bastard Behind the Lines

The extraordinary story of Jock McLaren's escape from Sandakan and his guerrilla war against the Japanese

 

Tom Gilling

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin 2021

Paperback   256pp    RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, December 2021

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Passchendaele

A New History

 

Nick Lloyd

London: Viking, an imprint of Penguin Books, 2017

Paperback    464pp    RRP $23.75

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, January 2022

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Edith Blake's War

The only Australian Nurse killed in action in the First World War

Krista Vane-Tempest

Kensington, NSW: New South Books, 2021

Paperback   336pp   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, January 2022

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The Battle for Shaggy Ridge

The extraordinary story of the Australian campaign against the Japanese in New Guinea's Finisterre mountains in 1943-44

 

Phillip Bradley

Allen & Unwin, 2021

Paperback      328pp      RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, February 2022

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Failures of Command

The death of Private Robert Poate

 

Hugh Poate

Sydney: NewSouth Publishing, 2021

Paperback 368pp  RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, March 2022

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When He Came Home

The Impact of War on Partners and Children of Veterans

Dianne Dempsey

Sydney, NSW: Arcadia, 2021

Paperback   448pp   RRP $29.95

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, January 2022

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Blood Lust, Trust & Blame

In the National Interest Series

 

Samantha Crompvoets

Clayton, Vic: Monash University Publishing, 2021

Paperback    96pp   RRP $19.95

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, October 2021

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Mosul

Australia's secret war inside the ISIS caliphate

 

Ben Mckelvey

Sydney, NSW: Hachette, 2020

Paperback   352pp   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, March 2022

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Courage Under Fire

An extraordinary soldier, an extraordinary day, a lifelong legacy

Daniel Keighran VC with Tony Park

Sydney, NSW: Pan Macmillan, 2020

Hardback   384pp   RRP $44.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, October 2021

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 Pacific Adversaries

Japanese Army Air Force and the Imperial Japanese Navy vs The Allies

Volumes 1 to 4

 

Michael John Claringbould

Kent Town, South Australia: Avonmore Books, 2019 - 2021

 

Reviewer:  Neville Taylor, November 2021

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Island off the Coast of Asia

Instruments of Statecraft in Australian Foreign Policy

 

 

Clinton Fernandes

Clayton, Vic: Monash University Publishing, 2018

Paperback.  236pp  RRP $29.95

 

Reviewer: Bruce Brown, November 2021

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Teddy Sheean VC

A Selfless Act of Valour

 

Tom Lewis

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2021

Paperback    180pp     RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, August 2021

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Letters to Lily Vale

The life and letters of Ernest Latchford MC MBE

in France, Persia, and Russia, 1916-1919

Mark Latchford

St Marys, SA: Openbook Howden, 2020

Paperback   328pp   RRP $30.00

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, October 2021

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The Art of Sacrifice

 

George Petrou OAM

Crows Nest, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2021

Hardcover   400pp   RRP $69.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, November 2021

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Military Justice Handbook

Second Edition

 

Anthony Paphitti

Havant, United Kingdom: Howgate Publishing Limited, 2021

Paperback    820pp    RRP $193.91

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, July 2021

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The Battle of the Bismarck Sea

The Forgotten Battle that Saved the Pacific

 

Michael Veitch

Sydney, NSW: Hachette, 2021

Paperback   352pp   RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Robert Dixon, November 2021

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A Narrative of Denial

Australia and the Indonesian Violation of East Timor

 

Peter Job

Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press, 2021

Paperback.  368pp.   RRP $39.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, June 2021

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The Bomber Mafia

A Story Set in War

 

Malcolm Gladwell

London: Allen Lane, 2021

Paperback     256pp  RRP $35.00

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, August 2021

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Mine Warfare

1st Australian Task Force’s Struggle for South Vietnam

Australian Army Combat Support Series No 3

Andrew Ross

Crows Nest NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2021

Paperback   160pp   RRP $19.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, July 2021

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Tragedy at Évian

How the world allowed Hitler to proceed with the Holocaust

 

Tony Matthews

Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Paperback   456pp   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, July 2021

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On Contested Shores

The Evolving Role of Amphibious Operations in the History of Warfare

 

Timothy Heck and B A Friedman (Eds)

Quantico, Virginia USA: Marine Corps University Press 2020

Paperback   430pp    RRP $60.00

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, June 2021

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Derrick VC in his own words

The wartime writings of Australia's most famous fighting soldier of World War II 
 

 

Mark Johnston (Ed)

Moss Vale, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2021

Paperback    448pp   RRP$39.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, July 2021

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Spinning the Secrets of State

Politics and Intelligence in Australia

Justin T McPhee

Clayton, Vic: Monash University Publishing,

September 2020
Paperback   272pp   RRP $34.95

 

Reviewer: Bruce Brown, July 2021

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Missing:

The Need for Closure after the Great War,

Richard van Emden,

Barnsley, South Yorkshire: Pen & Sword Military, 2019.

Hardback (292 pp, £20.00)

 

Reviewer - Mike O'Brien

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Tarra

The story of a small ship that significantly impacted the Australian Army

 

Jack Peel

Crows Nest, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Paperback   188pp   RRP $24.99

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, June 2021

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Phillip Schuler

The remarkable life of one of Australia's greatest war correspondents

 

Mark Baker

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2016

Paperback   352pp   RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, June 2021

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Traitors and Spies

Espionage and Corruption in High Places in Australia, 1901-50

 

John Fahey

Crows Nest, NSW: Allen & Unwin, 2020

Paperback  448pp   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Bruce Brown, June 2021

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Staring at God:

Britain in the Great War,

Simon Heffer,

London: Windmill Books, 2019.

(914 p, RRP $35)

 

 Reviewed by Mike O''Brien

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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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The Platoon Commander

The extraordinary story of the man who led

Australia’s most decorated platoon in Vietnam

 

John O’Halloran with Rick Teague

Sydney, NSW: Hachette, 2021

Paperback   352pp   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: RUSI – Vic, June 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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You Don’t Belong Here

How Three Women Rewrote the Story of War

 

Elizabeth Becker

Carlton, Victoria: Black Inc., 2021

Paperback   320pp   RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, June 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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William Holmes

The Soldiers' General

 

Geoffrey Travers

Newport, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2020

Hardback  424pp  RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, November 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