On Anzac Day 1918, when the town of Villers-Bretonneux falls to the British defenders, it is the Australians who are called on to save the day, the town and the entire battle.
It's early 1918, and after four brutal years the fate of the Great War hangs in the balance. On the one hand, the fact that Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks have seized power in Russia - immediately suing for peace with Germany - means that no fewer than one million of the Kaiser's soldiers can now be transferred from there to the Western Front. On the other, now that America has entered the war, it means that two million American soldiers are also on their way, to tip the scales of war in favor of the Allies.
The Germans, realising that their only hope is striking at the Allied lines first, do exactly that, and on the morning of 21 March 1918, the Kaiserschlacht, the Kaiser's battle, is launched - the biggest set-piece battle the world has ever seen.
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Shouty, with music but a great story nonetheless
An excellent historical narrative of the Australian contribution to the Western Front in World War 1.
The sheer volume of historical detail.
I couldn't stand the occasional shouting. There's really no need for it even if the author has added an exclamation mark outside of the quotes.
The pre- and post chapter music is extremely irritating.
Good detail: Childlike parochialism
Much as I enjoyed some of the detailed research. the strengths of the book were more than undermined by the simplistic nationalism expressed by Fitzsimons who laced the narrative with his republican views at every opportunity. The result is a book well suited for those that believe that Australians are in some way endowed with innate super human characteristics.
The book would have benefitted greatly from a far more balanced perspective.
This is not the best Meldrum performance, but it was ok. I certainly wouldn't say no to listening to other readings, but would not consider another Meldrum/FitzSimons team effort.