What's Wrong with ANZAC?: The Militarisation of Australian History

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University of NSW Press, 2010 - History - 183 pages

Brave and controversial, this account argues that Australians' collective obsession with the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) has distorted their perception of national history. Delving into the history of ANZAC and the mythologies surrounding it, this detailed record explores topics such as the formation of Australia's national holiday--ANZAC Day--and the way in which the spirit of ANZAC is taught in the nation's classrooms. Ultimately, this informative narrative claims that ANZAC has become a conservative political force in Australia and questions whether ANZAC'S renowned foreign battles were worth all of the bloodshed. Daring, intelligent, and thought-provoking, this is a must-read for those interested in Australian or military history.

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This book approaches history from up working down, the opposite of how history is to be approached. Whether you want to agree with the authors or not, you will be disappointed by their simplistic, under-researched, contradictory argument. The horses they are beating are well and truly dead, and perhaps the authors do not spend enough time outside to realize that the Australia public does not glorify war, nor consider Australians involvement in war as something exceptional or remarkable, it just was! They also perhaps need to attend a few more ANZAC day events to witness the deep grief and poignancy of a nation that after 100 years still believes the sacrifice, needless though it may have been at times, that men and women made is worthy of our remembrance. So what if people fought for Britain or for Australia? We are members of a Commonwealth. How is that an issue? Added to this is the back-handed slap to the face of the Australian public, who are somehow too stupid to choose what they're celebrating. Really? Really? The commemoration is bigger than ever because we are approaching its 100 year anniversary! It does not require a doctorate to understand that. The fact that such a book is written, read and even praised disproves their argument. I, for one, am delighted to live in a country where historians can express their dissent and debate with healthy respect and intellectual integrity, but this book comes up short on intellectual integrity and heavy on bias and agenda!  

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About the author (2010)

Marilyn Lake is a professor of history at La Trobe University. She is the author of The Limits of Hope: Soldier Settlement in Victoria 1915–38, FAITH: Faith Bandler, Gentle Activist, and Getting Equal: The History of Feminism in Australia. She is the coauthor of Creating a Nation. Henry Reynolds is a professor of history at the University of Tasmania and the author of a number of books, including The Other Side of the Frontier: Aboriginal Resistance to the European Invasion of Australia, Frontier: Aborigines, Settlers and Land, and Why Weren't We Told?: A Personal Search for the Truth About Our History.

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