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Kokoda [Hardcover]

Peter FitzSimons
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 July 2004

For Australians, Kokoda is the iconic battle of World War II, yet few people know the names of the men who fought on the track, or even the details of what happened. More Australians died in the fighting in Papua, than in any other campaign of World War II. Now bestselling author Peter FitzSimons tells the Kokoda story in a gripping and moving, style.

Kokoda was a defining battle for Australia, where a small force of young, ill-equipped young men engaged an experienced and hitherto unstoppable Japanese force on a narrow, precarious jungle track. Again and again, the outnumbered Australians risked everything to stop the Japanese from advancing along the track towards the mainland.

Conditions on the track were hellish-rain was constant, the terrain inhospitable, food and ammo supplies were practically non-existent and the men constantly battled malaria and dysentery, as well as the Japanese. The Australian troops were wounded and exhausted beyond belief but always found that extra bit of spirit to fight on, with the help of the local people.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Hodder Headline Australia (1 July 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0733616151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0733616150
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 15.7 x 3.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,564,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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Product Description

Book Description

A superb blend of authority and gripping storytelling - history at its best. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Peter FitzSimons is well known as a journalist, TV personality and author. Amongst his bestsellers are the biographies of Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales, together with his amazingly successful biography of Nancy Wake.

He lives in Sydney and embarked on his own Kokoda trek in 2003.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Jared M
I think that for Australians, the Kokoda Track represents a large part of their sense of identity, much as Gallipoli does for us New Zealanders. The story of a bunch of Aussie cobbers doing battle in terrible conditions against numerically stronger forces on Australia's doorstep and coming out the victor does resonates strongly with this reviewer. Peter Fitzsimons has written an excellent account of the Kokoda campaign, from the "Chocos" who struggled against the odds and their own commanders' lack of confidence in their battle worthiness to the professional AIF troops, especially the officers. Dominating the whole Kokoda campaign is the terrain itself, the track and the Owen Stanley ranges. The Australians and the Japanese were not just fighting each other, they were fighting to survive the conditions. The book primarily focuses on the fighting men, and accordingly there is a major change in language and tone as one shifts from the track itself, where informal and colloquial language is dominant, back to Port Moresby, and then even further back to GHQ in Brisbane.

The Australian High Command is not overlooked in "Kokoda". The author makes it very clear that the frontline troops were very much let down by their leaders, whom grossly lacked an understanding of the difficulties of waging war in the Papuan jungle, and made no attempt to rectify this. Blamey, the overall Australian commander directing the majority of the battle from far afield, comes in for much harsh criticism, as does General MacArthur. This is in stark contrast to the lower and mid-level command who excelled in the field under horrific circumstances. The author has also included some Japanese perspectives to the battle, although these are somewhat limited.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 9 Oct 2012
A must read for all those interested in military matters. The tenacity of the Auzzie reserve forces and later their professional comrades in holding back the Imperial Japanese forces is well told in this satisfying account. It is well structured, giving background of the larger picture both politically and strategically, as well as informing of the experiences of the individual combatants, from Generals, commissioned officers and privates. Highly recommended!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Boy's Own 1 Oct 2013
Format:MP3 CD
Historically very good. A very good account of the battle and those involved. But the style of writing is just like a boy's annual from the 1950's. It's corny and quite unnecessary to use this style when writing of such an historic battle. In a way it trivialises all the effort, strain and sacrifice that took place. I was expecting to see somewhere about "men with granite jaws and set expressions who did their job and asked for no thanks". I'm surprised the author refrained.....but very thankful he did. The soldiers described in this book were awesome, there is no other word for it. Respect them for their supreme sacrifices, don't make a novel out of it.
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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  37 reviews
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kokoda and it Heroes 29 April 2006
By Andrew Desmond - Published on Amazon.com
It is perhaps very timely to be writing a review of Peter FitzSimons "Kokoda" only days after Anzac Day. This is the day when Australians and New Zealanders commemorate war dead in general, and the Gallipoli campaign of 1915, in particular. Although "Kokoda" covers events of World War II in Papua New Guinea there is still an eerie resonance with Anzac Day and all that it commemorates.

Peter Fitzsimons is a well regarded Australian journalist who well covers the events of 1942 when Australia was under direct threat from the armies of Imperial Japan. Indeed, it can be argued that the events of Kokoda are far more important to Australia than the Gallipoli disaster of 1915. In Gallipoli, Australia was simply falling in line with Britain by waging a war against Turkey which represented no threat to Australia on the other side of the world. By contrast, in 1942, Australia was well in the sights of Japan as it moved ever further to the south. The Kokoda campaign is thus a story of great efforts where a handful of Australian heroes defended their homeland against a seasoned army that significantly outnumbered them. And, of course, they won. Japan was turned on its heels and eventually driven back across the Pacific. Gallipoli, by way of contrast, was a bloody mess and Australia and its allies were defeated.

The style of "Kokoda" the book is truly Australian. FitzSimons is a wonderful exponent of the Australian vernacular. This may confuse or even offend foreign readers. Do not, however, let this put you off. The book is a majestic tale.

If I could find a fault in the book, there are two. Firstly, FitzSimons uses the term "native" far too freely. It sounds very condescending when he talks of the tribesmen of the Papua New Guinea highlands. Secondly, the book would also have greater clarity if maps were included. The reader would then gain a greater appreciation of the course of the various battles.

Yet, in finding these faults, I am being churlish. Peter Fitzsimons has written a great book that I recommend highly to all those readers seeking knowledge of a vital piece of World War II that needs to be more widely understood.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Oustanding read 2 Mar 2007
By Tiberius - Published on Amazon.com
Knowing nothing about the war in New Guinea, I was engrossed by the powerful story of the Kokoda trail and the battles of the small group of Australian soldies who fought there.

This is a well researched and written account of the battles and the people behind the scenes. While less than flattering to the myth of Douglas McArthur, it puts into stark perspective the courage and steadfastness of the Australian soldier under terrible conditions.

Well worth the read!
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of the best books on this campaign 19 Jan 2008
By David Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
a great read of this do or die battle that helps form part of the Australian pysche - as it says at the kokoda/isurava memorial 'mateship-courage-sacrifice-endurance'. Well woven together, with a good appraisal of the large-scale context for the battle that is bought to life by numerous anecdotes and vignettes of the men fighting and dying along 'the track'. This is my favourite read for the kokoda campaign and in my opinion much better than the similarly named and dated competition
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 1 July 2014
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A must read for schools and all who hate war. well researched and absorbing.
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Read 25 Jun 2014
By Rohan Thomas - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A well told and entertaining story but reads a bit like a 'boys own adventure', which I found a bit annoying at times.
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