There has been no shortage of heroic stories over the course of the Anzac Centenary: stories of courage and sacrifice, fortitude and endurance, mateship and resolve. But a hundred years on, there is a need for other stories as well – the stories too often marginalised in favour of nation-building narratives.
World War One: a history in 100 stories remembers not just the men and women who lost their lives during the battles of WWI, but those who returned home as well: the gassed, the crippled, the insane – all those irreparably damaged by war.
Drawn from a unique collection of sources, including repatriation files, these heartbreaking and deeply personal stories reveal a broken and suffering generation – gentle men driven to violence, mothers sent insane with grief, the hopelessness of rehabilitation and the quiet, pervasive sadness of loss. They also retrieve a fragile kind of courage from the pain and devastation of a conflict that changed the world.
This is an unflinching and remarkable social history. It is an act of remembering in the face of forgetting. Telling the truth about war requires its own kind of courage.