Beyond Gallipoli: New Perspectives on ANZAC
Edited by Raelene Frances and Bruce Scates
Published by Monash University Publishing
RRP $34.95 in paperback • ISBN 9781925495102
Some one hundred years after the Gallipoli landings, a cast of the world’s leading Gallipoli scholars gathered on the shores of the Dardanelles to discuss and debate that ill-fated campaign. This book brings together a selection chosen from around 100 papers from half a dozen countries delivered at this event. It approaches old questions in a new way, offering fresh perspectives on the Gallipoli landings.
The collection begins with two essays situating the Gallipoli campaign and challenging popularly accepted narratives of its history. Robin Prior, for example, argues that Gallipoli was an unwinnable battle. The campaign, he concludes, was a folly fought ‘in vain’, notwithstanding the bravery of the men who served there.
A hundred years on, sensitivities remain however. Papers from Turkish academics were withdrawn from the collection when they learned that the word ‘genocide’ would be used in other chapters given that the current Turkish government is keen to silence any discussion of the events of 1915 as ‘genocide’.
Sharon Mascall-Dare and Matthew Ricketson examine the ethics of war reporting within the context of Anzac and the prevalence of cliché in modern reporting.
There is a stellar cast of contributors to this collection beginning with the editors, Raelene Frances (Dean of Arts and Professor of History at Monash University) and Bruce Scates, (professor of History and Australian Studies at Monash). Each has taken a topic and teased out new ideas and insights.
For this reason alone, it is an important collection exploring some of the myths, misconceptions and legacy of Anzac.
As Bill Gammage observes in his essay ‘Anzac Day’s Early Rituals’, ‘no other national day marks so much loss for so little triumph, yet so quickly became a people’s day’.
It’s important to understand how we got to this position and to push back against false memory and distortion.