THE NATIONAL BESTSELLER
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, there were over 5500 casualties, including nearly 2000 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.
PRAISE FOR PETER FITZSIMONS
'Peter FitzSimons is an Australian phenomenon.' The Canberra Times
'[FitzSimons] knows how to make words race like eager sled dogs on their homeward run.' Newcastle Herald
'Meticulously researched, well-written and incredibly presented.' Weekend Notes
Peter Fitzsimons has excelled himself with this wonderful, moving and powerful book. Finally the diggers of Fromelles and Pozieres are brought to life and their battles and heroism should now be remembered and revered alongside the likes of Gallipoli.
An outstanding read.
As an Australian, I am deeply embarassed by this book. It is parochialism at its worst, and appears to be written for those who prefer nationalistic backslapping over real history. Worse, this book is an insult to the brave men who faught and died in these battles. Their memory deserves better than this. The author should be ashamed of himself.