War has shaped Australian society profoundly. When we commemorate the sacrifices of the Anzacs, we rightly celebrate their bravery, but we do not always acknowledge the complex aftermath of combat.
In The Cost of War, Stephen Garton traces the experiences of Australia’s veterans, and asks what we can learn from their stories. He considers the long-term effects of war on returned servicemen and women, on their families and communities, and on Australian public life. He describes attempts to respond to the physical and psychological wounds of combat, from the first victims of shellshock during WWI to more recent understandings of post-traumatic stress disorder. And he examines the political and social repercussions of war, including debates over how we should commemorate conflict and how society should respond to the needs of veterans.
When the first edition of The Cost of War appeared in 1996, it offered a ground-breaking new perspective on the Anzac experience. In this new edition, Garton again makes a compelling case for a more nuanced understanding of the individual and collective costs of war.