Wikipedia:WikiProject Military history/News/April 2015/Book reviews

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The Landing at ANZAC 1915 - Chris Roberts

Australian troops going into action in the hills above Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915

4.5/5 stars

By Nick-D

The Landing at ANZAC is a military history of the first three days of fighting between the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and the Ottoman III Corps around Anzac Cove in April 1915. Its author, Chris Roberts, is a retired Australian Army brigadier whose military career included command of the elite Special Air Service Regiment. The book forms the part of the Australian Army History Unit's solid Australian Army Campaigns Series, and is aimed at current members of the Army.

In writing this book, Roberts set out to provide a clear-headed account of the much-mythologised landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915, covering both the actions of the ANZAC and Ottoman forces. He succeeded admirably, with the book clearly describing the lead up to the battle and the movements of the opposing forces during the fighting. Roberts convincingly argues that the ANZAC was unready for battle and assigned a nearly impossible task, and was outfought by the much better prepared Ottoman force. Importantly, he also describes how blunders by Australian officers (especially the commanders of the Australian 3rd Brigade and the 1st Division) contributed to the ANZAC's failure on 25 April. The book's narrative is well supported by a large number of excellent maps and well-chosen photographs.

The main shortcoming of The Landing at ANZAC is its length: all the volumes in this series of books are relatively short, and the 180 pages Roberts was allowed doesn't really give him space to discuss the factors which contributed to the Australian and New Zealand defeat. Roberts clearly has a lot to say about the ANZAC's problems (in particular, the fairly amateurish training of its enlisted men and the senior officers' lack of practical command experience), but covers this only briefly. The captions to the photos also imply that material taking on the myths around first wave of troops being heavily opposed was cut from the book (though there is a short appendix on this topic), and the fighting on 26 and 27 April could have been discussed in more detail.

Overall, The Landing at ANZAC is an excellent work which deserves to be considered the standard military history of this battle.

Publishing details: Roberts, Chris (2013). The Landing at ANZAC 1915. Australian Army Campaigns Series - 12. Sydney: Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781922132208.

Recent external reviews

Carr, Mathew (2015). Sherman's Ghosts: Soldiers, Civilians, and the American Way of War. The New Press. ISBN 1595589554.

Broadbent, Harvey (2015). Defending Gallipoli : The Turkish Story. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 9780522864564.

Reeves, Richard (2015). Infamy: The Shocking Story of the Japanese-American Internment in World War II. New York City: Henry Holt and Co. ISBN 0805094083.

David, James E. (2015). Spies and Shuttles: NASA's Secret Relationships with the DoD and CIA. Gainesville, Florida: University Press of Florida. ISBN 0813049997.

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