We have Monash Univeresity, the Monash Freeway, plenty of Monash streets. But I must admit I didn’t know a lot about the famous World War One General, the Battle of Hamel, or the prejudice he suffered for being Jewish and how he rose above all these trials to truely be a great Australian.
World War One is lost to us now., All participants are dead. All Anzac Day Marches now silent on the “Great War.” Peter Fitzsimmon’s new book somehow manages to bring to life the nature of the Aussie digger in a way that is totally Australian in the way it is written. It is friendly, easy to read, informative and strangely patriotic.
Monash it seems, pioneered the way warfare was fought in the trenches of France. It gives new understanding for me of how an Australian General broke the traditional boundaries of warfare to win a major victory that no doubt shortened the war.
I learned a lot. How we fought with the Americans at Le Hamel, how the American Generals sought to pull out at the last moment, the method of fighting with tanks, and most importantly I learnt how these people from 100 years ago were no different to the Aussies of today. The actual battle was almost a cliffhanger, such was the skill of writing. The nicknames, the banter, the way we speak, their bravery under pressure. In this easily read narrative come Historical text, I learnt more about what constitutes being an Australian.
I also learnt about dignity. The fact that Monash was pursued for being Jewish, denied his due rewards for his religion and how he rose above this. I was immensly impressed and this was no doubt in part due to the excellent narrative of this book.
To this end you have to give Peter Fitzsimmons five stars for an excellent historical account. I might just read this book again.