From Trench and Troopship: The Experience of the Australian Imperial Force 1914 - 1919

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9780868066691: From Trench and Troopship: The Experience of the Australian Imperial Force 1914 - 1919
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Between 1914 and 1919, every troopship leaving Australia or returning to it produced a shipboard newspaper - the first recorded was The Latrine Leader and W.W. Chronicle, produced on the Kanowna bound for Raboul in August 1914. The custom was continued in base camps, at Gallipoli, and in the trenches in France, and the result was a large body of literature, ranging from handwritten sheets compiled under fire and posted in dugouts to journals and souvenir magazines professionally printed behind the lines.

As a record of Australian service life during the Great War, this material has a richness of detail, an immediacy and spontaneity that cannot be found in any official history.

Sometimes deeply moving, usually humorous, it offers insights into the experience of ordinary soldiers in extraordinary settings and at the same time, illuminates contemporary Australian society. Historian David Kent has selected from this treasure-house of vernacular writing to create a memorable anthology, each section of which is accompanied by a narrative providing the historical and social context. Historical photographs and facsimiles of these fragile artifacts of the past complement the text.

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About the Author:

David Kent was born in London in 1942 and educated at Dulwich College and the Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh. After seven years' lecturing in higher education in Britain he emigrated to Australia. He is currently an Associate Professor at the University of New England in Armidale where he teaches courses on the social history of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain. Personal interest (both grandfathers were casualties of the First World War) led him to explore the rich literary field of From Trench and Troopship for several years before finally feeling compelled to write about it. All of his work, including many scholarly articles on both Australian and British history, displays his preference for writing history 'from below'.

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David Kent
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