Talk:Australian contribution to the Allied Intervention in Russia 1918–19
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Restructuring for Good Article status
This is a great piece of work and i have already put it up as a GA nomination. One of the issues that will need to be addressed for it to reach that status will be the introduction. I have done a restructure to cut the introduction down and give the Australian involvement a more prominent place in that. This has necessitated moving some of the text. i have placed part of it at the end as an evaluation of Australians' role. I have placed some of it as initial context for understanding the detail of the conflict. I am aware that a few of the sentences in that section i've called "Context" probably do not belong there, but somewhere toward the end of the article. I hope the experts will come back and tidy up the intermediate mess I've made in this regard, and i hope that will get it to GA! Well done, Anotherclown! Cheers. hamiltonstone (talk) 23:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
It could be argued whether the photograph of Allied forces in Vladivostok can be used here, since (according to the article) the Australian forces never came to Vladivostok, and the caption gives an impression that they participated in the parade. Maybe a similar photograph of Murmansk or Arhangelsk can be found? 126.96.36.199 (talk) 22:06, 24 January 2009 (UTC)
Michael Challinger is a reliable source
The author and travel journalist Michael Challinger lives the next suburb over from me. I noticed an interview in the local paper in which he described the tremendous amount of work that went into writing Anzacs In Arkhangel:
- How do you juggle being a lawyer and a writer?
- I've been in the law for 30 years, so it is what I do to earn a living. I've got a great job. If I want to take time off, I do. But the midnight oil is spent researching. I wrote a collection of short stories, and I wrote a novel, and a book about courthouses. But I've been doing travel writing for four or five years.
- How long did it take you to write this book?
- I've been writing it for at least three years, doing it bit by bit. This entailed travel, research in Canberra, and looking into the personal details of Diggers.
- Did you visit the places where the Australians fought?
- I've been to Arkhangel three times. The Aussies fought on two fronts. One was the river, and one was on the railway line. The end chapter of the book has me and my son on the railway front, with these mad Russians, digging up bombs and stuff. We ended up camping in a minefield, where we found live grenades which they put in the campfire and blew up. It's an interesting place, Russia.
- Source: "A moment with: Michael Challinger" by Anna Whitelaw, Melbourne Weekly Eastern, 20 April 2010, pages 8-9
His story checks out, a search of the Fairfax Newsstore archive shows Challinger has been a travel writer for The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald for the past five years. He's probably written thirty or so articles in total, most of them pretty good compared to the promotional writing that usually fills the travel pages of the Fairfax papers.
Assuming then he is a semi-professional who spent three years writing the book, I think it's safe to say Challinger is a reliable source given so few historians have written about the subject. Note the book received fairly positive reviews in The Weekend Australian:
- ...A fascinating little book is Anzacs in Arkhangel: The Untold Story of Australia and the Invasion of Russia 1918-19, the melancholy story of a lonely, forgotten war, superbly researched in London and Canberra, well written and enlivened by photographs virtually nobody will have seen.
- Yes, Australians were here, too, in the icy wastes of the Arctic Circle, to join battle with the Red Army. They were a small, secret unit of slouch hats fighting the Bolsheviks for the relief of a stranded Allied force. Two earned Victoria Crosses; one, Sam Pearse, is buried in Obozerskaya...
- Source: "The first casualty" by Paul Ham, Weekend Australian Review, 24 April 2010, pages 18-19
and the Daily Telegraph:
- ...A rag-tag group of soldiers was sent to prevent German advance into Russia but, as war ended with Germany, the men found themselves fighting the Communists. It was a strange incident that pitted troops from Britain, Australia, the US, France, Poland and other nations with royalist or White Russians against the Bolsheviks.
- Challinger deftly details how the taskforce, named Elope, battled mud and mosquitos with recalcitrant, mutinous, untrained or second-rate troops and incompetent commanders. The Russian winter brought frostbite and equipment failures. Once it became apparent that the campaign was a disaster, a relief force had to be organised. A rabid anti-Bolshevik, the First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill, hoped that the relief force would kick the Communists out. Challinger's account livens up a strange and colourful story...
- Source: "Review: Anzacs in Arkhangel" by Troy Lennon, The Daily Telegraph, 1 April 2010, page 94
There was a single negative review, in the Courier-Mail:
- ...Historians might at one level appreciate the fact that Australians seem increasingly interested in at least some aspects of their past, but the obsession with popular military history also raises a number of problems.
- It can lead to overblown claims, such as the assertion that Michael Challinger 's work on Australians in the anti-Bolshevik Russian campaign in (mainly) 1919 reveals a hitherto "untold story" - which it most certainly does not. Previous accounts of Australians in the campaign are listed in the bibliography. They are, admittedly, thin on the ground, but that is because there is barely enough Australian involvement in the campaign to spin a book from...
- Source: "Military is a money-spinner" by Martin Crotty and Christopher Bantick, The Courier-Mail, 24 April 2010, etc section, page 20
Oddly, that very same week Martin Crotty did another review in the Saturday Age which doesn't mention Challinger's book. I don't know what to make of this.
Ottre 06:33, 2 May 2010 (UTC)
- Indeed, I agree that Challenger is a reliable source and have no dramas with the work (have only skimmed it to date though). However, as it has not been used as a reference for this article the work should only be added to the Further reading section, which I have done. If you would like to use Challenger to add more infomation to the article please do so with inline citations and then move the work to the References section. Cheers. Anotherclown (talk) 07:28, 2 May 2010 (UTC)