The men and women who created the digger legend
Stories of heroism, suffering and endurance - and also humour - from the main wars in which Australians have fought.
Graham Seal is Professor of Folklore at Curtin University, and a leading expert on Australian cultural history. He is author of the bestselling Great Australian Stories.
Over the past couple of years the Australian ideals of Anzac and Mateship, courage and honour, and particularly National identity forged through War, have been much explored themes in Australian society, new literature, and historical texts. This text is accessible and easy to dip into, a blend of material quoted directly from already published words written, or spoken, by serving Australians over a period of around 75 years, within a framework of context and analysis by author Graham Seal. There is an extensive list of Contents, with page numbers given under a large number of sub headings. These enable the reader to follow a particular thread, or to go back and find something again later.
Australian readers will welcome the many original anecdotes that are presented. They make vibrant, interesting reading. Although nowadays we may consider it a stereotype, the voice of the Australian laconic male figure, with his familiar sense of humour, is fresh and vital in this very accessible book. The Australian boys are ‘over there’ doing their bit amidst great difficulty and horror, but their irreverent wit and total lack of self-pity help the reader to feel compassion, understand the realities of war, and to also enjoy a laugh at the expense of authority, always a ‘sure fire’ winning technique. The stories are presented in different type face to the commentary, with headings, sub headings, and the division of text into relatively short chunks. The structure is clearly visible, and this will help young readers to maintain interest, without having to read the whole text as one text.
Seal ends his book with a good list of sources and references, and excellent index, and a list of photo credits. Together with the Contents list and glossary, all of these are useful in helping to teach referencing to young students. Suitable for late Primary to mid Secondary readers. Useful as a text for History or Society and Environment studies, the book would also make a good pairing with another text from a different genre for the purpose of study in English. It could provide a springboard for discussion on a range of themes. It could lead to discussion about war, about taking risks, heroism, fear, terrorism; and possibly post-traumatic stress disorder and other Mental Health issues for those who are caught up in War.
Helen Wilde, SA