‘You shouldn’t have joined …’: General Peter Cosgrove adds to his story

Cosgrovebook

You Shouldn’t Have Joined …
A Memoir
By Sir Peter Cosgrove

Published by Allen & Unwin
RRP $49.99 in hard cover | ISBN 9781760878528

‘This book is not written to correct the record, not to reveal fascinating facts previously unknown, not to convey insights thrilling in their expression and persuasion….’

So writes Peter Cosgrove in the preface to this, his second book of memoir, having published ‘My Story’ in 2006.

His military career trajectory is well known, ending his days as Chief of the Australian Defence Force in 2005, having entered Duntroon in 1965.

What he thought would be an easy retirement interspersed with board meetings – he writes that he sat on ‘way too many’ – turned out not to be the case.

Soon after his retirement from the Army, he was invited to take charge of the huge relief and rebuilding operation in Queensland after the devastation of Cyclone Larry.

And then, in 2014, he became Australia’s Governor-General, retiring from that role in July 2019, only to become enmeshed in the efforts of bushfire recovery.

He recounts his time as Governor-General in some detail including his eagerness to visit Australian troops overseas when his travel itineraries permitted.

While he barely strays into the political, he does comment obliquely on the sacking of the Whitlam government in 1975, writing that he does not think ‘…governors-general should have conversations with Leaders of the Opposition with even a whiff of political content.’

Through it all, we hear the voice of a down-to-earth Australian, somewhat surprised at his achievements, but always approaching each challenge with enthusiasm, energy, dedication and a touch of humanity.

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