From the Trenches
Others have written the myth, but the Anzacs themselves wrote their stories. Around the country, bronze soldiers in slouch hats stand silently at attention. It is the Anzacs' remarkable writing that reveals the lives behind the national legend. In the Trenches is a collection of gripping, awe-inspiring and sometimes terrifying accounts of life at the front, recorded by those who lived through the fighting. Drawn from diaries, memoirs and letters, as well as poetry, reportage and prose, this writing reminds us that the Anzac legend is rooted in real and tragic circumstances on a heartbreakingly human scale. Belying the common perception of the laconic digger, these compelling voices convey the range of wartime experience, from the desolation and horror to the unbridled excitement and camaraderie. Through it all runs the bleak toll on young lives. Author and journalist Mark Dapin has selected writing from those on the frontlines as well as behind the scenes, from officers and soldiers to nurses, engineers and reporters, to create a volume that will be regarded as the definitive record of the personal experiences that forged the emerging national identities of Australia and New Zealand.
Journalist Mark Dapin is the editor of The Penguin Book of Australian War Writing. His latest novel, Spirit House, set on the Burma Railway during the Second World War, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year. He is a PhD candidate at the Australian Defence Force Academy.