It's time for another review – this one is looking at an article in the Weekend Australian Magazine of October 4 – 5, 2008.
I'm a fan of Ham's, having read both "
This article is no exception. I read it as a rationalization of his approach to the subject. He talks about the total impact of military conflict on all involved, and widens the perspective of the reader beyond the conventional guts and glory narrative we're used to. There is also a clear message about the relationship between the soldier and the politicians and the nation who send them off to fight. He makes a very clear and simple conclusion that resonates with my experience –
Australians' newfound enthusiasm for our martial past often fails to consider the dreadful context of a soldier's self-sacrifice, and cleanses the act in a mawkish celebration of civilian conceptions of war as "good triumphing over evil", or "fighting to defend the realm, king and country". Most soldiers scorn these interpretations: "We were fighting for our lives and the lives of our mates" seems to be the most common thread that binds men in battle.