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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August in Kabul

America’s last days in Afghanistan

 

 Andrew Quilty

Carlton VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2022

Paperback   304pp   RRP $34.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, September 2022

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Our Exceptional Friend

Australia’s Fatal Alliance with the United States

 

Emma Shortis

Richmond, Vic: Hardie Grant Books, 2021

Paperback   288pp   RRP $32.99

 

Reviewer: Bruce Brown, September 2022  

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Dasher

The Kevin Wheatley VC Story

 

Michael C Madden

Crows Nest, NSW: Big Sky Publishing, 2021

Paperback   324pp   RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, August 2022

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Survivor

Life in the SAS

 

Mark Wales

Sydney, NSW: Pan Macmillan, 2021

Paperback   368pp   RRP $35.00

 

Reviewer: Kevan Sanderson, August 2022

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Eight Hundred Heroes

China’s Lost Battalion and the Fall of Shanghai

 

Stephen Robinson

Gosford, NSW: Exisle Publishing, 2022

Hardcover   304pp   RRP $49.99

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, August 2022

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The Ledger

Accounting for Failure in Afghanistan

 

David Kilcullen and Greg Mills

Sydney, NSW: New South Books, 2021

Paperback   368pp   RRP $29.99

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, September 2022

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On Operations

Operational Art and Military Disciplines

B. A. Friedman

Annapolis, Maryland, US: Naval Institute Press, 2021

Hardcover.  256pp   RRP $56.43

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, August 2022

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The Royal Australian Air Force in South Australia during WWII

Adelaide - Gawler - Mallala - Mount Gambier - Parafield - Port Pirie - Victor Harbor

 

Peter Ingham

Avonmore Books, 2021 Paperback    96pp     RRP $30.00

 Reviewer: Neville Taylor, July 2022

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A Short History of War

Jeremy Black

New Haven, Connecticut, US: Yale University Press, 2021

Hardback    272pp     RRP $30.95

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, May 2022

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Under Beijing's Shadow

Southeast Asia's China Challenge

 

Murray Hiebert

Lanham, Maryland US: Roman & Littlefield, 2020

Hardcover, 608 pages  RRP $76.14

 

Reviewer: Bruce Brown, June 2022

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Mau Mau Whitewash – Britain Slandered

A Critique of the Revisionist Account of Mau Mau

Lee Boldeman

Brisbane, QLD: Copyright Publishing, 2021

Paperback   376pp   RRP $49.50

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, May 2022

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Keith Payne VC

No One Left Behind

Keith Payne VC

Sydney, NSW: Pan Macmillan Australia, 2021

Hardback   448pp   RRP $49.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, April 2022

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Operation Pedestal

The Fleet that Battled to Malta, 1942

 

Max Hastings

London: William Collins, 2021

Hardback    464pp     RRP $35.00

 

Reviewer: Brian Surtees, May 2022

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Morrison’s Mission

How a beginner reshaped Australian Foreign policy

 

Paul Kelly

North Sydney, NSW: Penguin, 2022

Paperback   256pp   RRP $12.99

 

Reviewer: Neville Taylor, May 2022

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Save Our Sons

Women, Dissent and Conscription during the Vietnam War

 

Carolyn Collins

Clayton, Vic.: Monash University Publishing 2021

Paperback   360pp   RRP $34.95

 

Reviewer: Robert Dixon, June 2022

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Sad Joys on Deployment

 

Greg Bruce

Canary Wharf, London UK: Austin Macauley Publishers, 2020

Paperback    176pp   RRP $19.75

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, May 2022

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The Battlefield of Imperishable Memory

Passchendaele and the ANZAC Legend

 

Matthew Haultain-Gall

Clayton, Vic: Monash University Publishing, 2021

Paperback   336pp   RRP $34.95

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, March 2022

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Soldiers and Aliens

Men in the Australian Army’s Employment Companies

during World War II

 

June Factor

Carlton, VIC: Melbourne University Press, 2022

Paperback   352pp   RRP $39.99

 

Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, May 2022

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The Sailor’s Bookshelf

Fifty Books to Know the Sea

 

James Stavridis

Annapolis, MA, USA: Annapolis Institute Press, 2021

Hardcover   232pp   RRP $69.25

 

Reviewer: Roger Buxton, March 2022

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The Emperor’s Grace

Untold Stories of Australians Enslaved in Japan during WWII

 

Mark Baker

Clayton, Vic: Monash University Publishing, 2021

Paperback   208pp   RRP $34.96

 

Reviewer: Robert Dixon, March 2022

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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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Vera Deakin and the Red Cross

 

Carole Woods

Melbourne: Melbourne: Royal Historical Society Victoria, 2020

Hardcover.   RRP $35.00

 

Reviewer: Rob Ellis, March 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

 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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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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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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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 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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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 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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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

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