Monday, August 16, 2010

Book Review - Kokoda by Paul Ham

Just finished another book written by Paul Ham. It's called Kokoda and covers the history of the battle between Australian (and American) forces and those of the Japanese. This book is incredibly well researched and examined sources such as diary entries, military documents and numerous interviews.

Kokoda is a term for which the Australian soldiers are held in high esteem. But not many of us know what happened there. This book tells the story of the struggle between few well-trained and many conscripted Australian soldiers who suffered from poor leadership, were ill-equipped and supplied and who fought against the Imperial Japanese army in some of the most inhospitable land (Australian territory at the time) imaginable.

The content is graphic and sometimes chilling. The subject matter is not for the faint-hearted. Neither side was well supported and suffered immeasurably from disease and lack of food. Cannibalism took place. War crimes are put forth. It's hard to believe that two armies could fight in such conditions.

This book is a must read if you want to know the story of Kokoda. It's also necessary to read if you wish to improve your vocabulary. Some of the words used that I need to look up are:

Crapulence, inviolable, gallimautry, amanuensis, discombobulated, ambuscading, bowdlerised, pathos, exigencies, obfuscation, spenetic, obesiant, kessel, mendacious, propifious, etiolated, caparisoned, rumbustious, felorile, fetiol, transmogrifying, ineluctable, insouciance, anthropophagy, eponymous, glossitis, apotheosis, exculpatory, abnegation, encomiums, sisyphean, abstemious, corporeal, inculcated, oleaginous and perfunctorily.

I'm glad to say that I completed the book just before the upcoming Save The Children Book Fair at UWA this weekend. Don't miss it if you wish to pick up a bargain, or twenty, on secondhand books with proceeds going to an excellent charity. You might even see me there.

Kokoda by Paul Ham


Iris Flavia said...

Will never understand war.. Cannibalism, uhhh, how desperate must those people be (a lot, obviously).

Hehe, is the author a Brother of yours?
Hope you get heaps of books at the Fair - great idea, we don´t have anything (I had heard of) here....

Susan Ham said...

Hi, Iris. Frugal only has a sister.

Susan Ham said...

I think I have told you, your grandfather was up there. He was on the Track, but not because he was fighting.He was ground staff in the R.A.A.F

Hammy said...

Don't know if I am related in any way to the author but I love his books.