QUINN'S POST Anzac, Gallipoli
Author: Peter Stanley Published by: Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, 2005, 226pp, $35.
BLOODY GALLIPOLI The New Zealanders' Story
Author: Richard Stowers Published by: Bateman, Auckland, 2005, 448pp, $79.95.
On 25 April 2005 more than 20,000 mostly young Australians and New Zealanders crammed into the narrow Anzac commemorative site at Gallipoli for a dawn service made more poignant by the fact that it was held exactly ninety years after the landings began. Their presence was testimony to the hold which the ill-fated campaign has on the psyches of the two countries, not least because of the myths that have come to surround the event and the perception that it is important in the nation building of both. Especially in Australia, the intense interest in Gallipoli has resulted in a flood of books on the subject, leaving it 'the most overworked subject in Australian military history'. New Zealand writers have been slower to take interest, though this seems to be changing if the number of books on the subject published this year is any indication.
Much of the writing on Gallipoli has suffered from its narrow national focus. Few Australian writers gave much attention to the 'NZ' in ANZAC, or fully acknowledged the part played by other nationalities in the struggle, especially the British and French. Peter Stanley sets out to correct this tendency in writing a biography of a particular place at Gallipoli--the hotly contested strongpoint at Quinn's Post, 'an area about the size of a school playground' whose loss would have rendered the whole Anzac enclave untenable. It was a position that was established by New Zealanders, though it took its name from an Australian officer, and Australian and New Zealand troops garrisoned it at various times. British marines and soldiers also took part in its defence.
In Quinn's Post, Anzac, Gallipoli, Stanley, the principal historian at the Australian War Memorial, does a thoroughly professional job in producing what he describes as 'arguably the first truly "Anzac" detailed account of the campaign'. He has travelled widely, including to New Zealand, to research his...