I am a Canadian who has read uncounted books and articles on Canadian, US, and UK accounts of military operations in both world wars. I bought this book because I know very little of Australian actions in wither world war. Am somewhat familiar with the desert campaign, again but not from the Australian perspective. I figured this would be a good starting point to learn the Australian point of view of the Pacific War.
I found this book well written and researched. Paul Horn wrote a book that gives an account of the campaign from the very top to bottom of both Allied and Japanese leadership. Having read Churchill's memoirs I found the account of the return of Australia's battle hardened troops compelling. Always thought it was a courageous decision to countermand the orders to divert Aussie troops to hopeless battlefields when they were needed back home.
Was not aware of the infighting between top Australian commanders, MacArthur, and other US commanders. This was a major difference between parallel leadership relationships that the Canadian Army experienced in Italy and Northwest Europe. The fact that the top leader did not fully support his field commanders made for most disturbing reading. It must have added to the stress felt by the brigade commanders in the latter part of the campaign.
The account of the various battles were well written and highlights the inadequacy of training, supplies, and equipment of the first Aussie units pushed into the fight. What is clear from this account was the toughness and fighting spirit that was harnessed early by good leadership. The rest of the campaign is described in vivid detail and does good justice to the front line troops involved.
I summary this is a very good account of the Kokoda campaign. It describes the decision making of the top leadership from Prime minister down to brigade commanders at the front. There is vivid description of the battles tempered with much of the political machinations that decided the fate justly or unjustly of the front line troops. The criticism of Douglas MacArthur's role in the campaign are biting and unfavourable. Americans will do themselves a service in reading this account prior to Hollywood releasing there next movie on this legendary hero.