The story of the five battles that changed Australia forever, this compelling narrative incorporates hundreds of interviews with the soldiers who fought at Kokoda, Milne Bay, Gona, Buna, and Sanananda in 1942 and 1943. Revealed are the very real and engaging experiences of Generals MacArthur and Blamey and other senior Australian commanders who sacrificed many of their senior field officers as scapegoats to protect their own positions, assisted in the making of false legends, and lied about the outcome of the men who fought the battles.
A Definitive Account
By James Wackett "Zed" - August 10, 2004
"Few Australians have heard of Gona, Buna and Sanananda - or for that matter Milne Bay. In commemorating the Papuan campaign we have, as a nation, got lost on the Kokoda trail" - Peter Brune.
I have never read a book that focuses completely on the Australian campaign in Papua (or part thereof) before, but only works that include the campaign as part of a more broad assessment of the whole South West Pacific Theatre of Operations. That said, I think it would be hard to find a better book on the Papuan campaign than Peter Brune's `A Bastard of a Place'.
The premise of Brune's book is that... "Kokoda's glory constitutes but one-fifth of the Australian legend of Papua during 1942. It is an integral part of that legend, but not its whole.
"...also, it is the sad saga of a nation still ignorant of this great Australian legend, still largely unaware of the feats of some of its most deserving military commanders and the soldiers they served. In some measure,... read more
An Important WW II Battle Little Known in the United States
By John Matlock "Gunny" - April 21, 2005
This book belongs in any library of books on World War II.
At the beginning of World War II the Australians sent the cream of their army to fight in North Africa. And they did a supurb job there. The stories of Montgomery's success over Rommel is filled with the Australians did this, and the Australians did that.
But then came Pearl Harbor and the Japanese expansion to the south and east. The Japanese expanded to the Solomons in the east. To the south the Japanese landed on and controlled the northern coast of the island of Papua New Guinea. Their intent was to have their army march southward to meet a naval force going around the island. From there was the possibility of invading Australia.
To the east the Americans drew the line by establishing a series of bases in the New Hebrides. First the American Navy fought a battle with this Japanese naval force, it is called the battle of the Coral Sea. Then the Americans invaded the Japanese conquered... read more
I Was There
By Gordon Innis - March 9, 2012
My review of a replacement copy of A BASTARD OF A PLACE, purchased from Amazon. Paul Raymond wrote "Retreat From Kokoda" and made an acceptable account of the actions, but Peter Brune has published a very detailed and accurate research of the events and personalities involved in the Japanese attack on Papua in 1942, which resulted in the first ever land defeats of the Japanese army (4 in total), by Australian forces. As an Australian (Now Canadian), I was in Papua at the time. General MacArthur tried to conduct a war in mountainous country from a very safe location in Brisbane, Queensland, and having no personal first hand knowledge of the terrible conditions, made many irresponsible demands on the field forces. These battles were concluded about three weeks before the defeat of the Japs by U.S. Marines on Guardalcanal . Thank you, Peter Brune for this great production.
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