Virginia Nicholson. Millions Like Us: Women's Lives During the Second World War. London: Penguin, 2012. Disappointingly, not the novelisation of the film. I haven't read her Singled Out -- I think the 'lost generation' thing is a bit exaggerated -- but the Daily Mail liked this one a lot, and that's good enough for me.

Craig Stockings, ed. Anzac's Dirty Dozen: 12 Myths of Australian Military History. Sydney, NewSouth Books, 2012. Again, I never did get around to buying Stockings's previous edited collection, Zombie Myths of Australian Military History, but this is potentially even more interesting. Whereas that book critiqued myths surrounding individual battles and campaigns, this one takes aim at bigger, deeper myths: that our military history began at Gallipoli (Craig Wilcox), for example, or that our lack of conscription in the world wars made us superior warriors (John Connor), or that our soldiers were wasted in sideshows in the last years of the war against Japan (Karl James). Some are things I've touched on here before: for example, Stockings's own chapter attacking the idea that we are always fighting other people's wars and Dale Blair's on Australian wartime atrocities. I can see I'm going to like this book. But I must register some churlish complaints, too. It's disappointing that although there's a chapter on Australia's missing naval history (Alastair Cooper) there isn't an equivalent one about airpower, despite the head of the RAAF's Office of Air Force History being among the authors (Chris Clark, who here writes about New Zealand's very different interpretation of Anzac). And it's also disappointing that while Stockings criticises blogs (and Wikipedia), along with newspaper supplements and popular histories, for perpetuating these myths 'as never before' (2), none of the authors appear to have any substantial web presence; nor does the book itself have a website (although, oddly, it does have a suggested Twitter hashtag in the colophon, #anzacdirty12). Given that the book is explicitly aimed at popular ideas about Australia's military history, this is a missed opportunity: Google is the key battleground for memory now.

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2 thoughts on “Acquisitions

  1. I've read Singled Out and the lost generation thing isn't used as literally as the p.r. might make it out to be. Quite an interesting book in all.

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