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A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua Paperback – May 1, 2005


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A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua + The Path of Infinite Sorrow: The Japanese on the Kokoda Track + The Toughest Fighting in the World: The Australian and American Campaign for New Guinea in World War II
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 724 pages
  • Publisher: Allen & Unwin (May 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1741144035
  • ISBN-13: 978-1741144031
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,098,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“A valuable read for anyone interested in men at war and particularly for students of the Pacific War.” —The NYMAS Review

About the Author

Peter Brune is the author of The Spell Broken, Those Ragged Bloody Heroes, and We Band of Brothers, and is the coauthor of 200 Shots: Damien Parer and George Silk and The Australians at War in New Guinea.

Customer Reviews

Thank you, Peter Brune for this great production.
Gordon Innis
Book was well researched and written , the lead up to the actual battle of the track lightly covered as this is covered in previous books.
skip saul
Made for great reading, anyone interested in ww2 history I would highly recommond this book for reading,edge of the seat book.
Bob H

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By James Wackett on August 10, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Few Australians have heard of Gona, Buna and Sanananda - or for that matter Milne Bay. In commemorating the Papuan campaign we have, as a nation, got lost on the Kokoda trail" - Peter Brune.

I have never read a book that focuses completely on the Australian campaign in Papua (or part thereof) before, but only works that include the campaign as part of a more broad assessment of the whole South West Pacific Theatre of Operations. That said, I think it would be hard to find a better book on the Papuan campaign than Peter Brune's `A Bastard of a Place'.

The premise of Brune's book is that... "Kokoda's glory constitutes but one-fifth of the Australian legend of Papua during 1942. It is an integral part of that legend, but not its whole.

"...also, it is the sad saga of a nation still ignorant of this great Australian legend, still largely unaware of the feats of some of its most deserving military commanders and the soldiers they served. In some measure, regrettably, it is the story of others who have been accorded undue praise."

First and foremost in Brune's assessment of those who have received undue praise are Generals Douglas Macarthur and Thomas Blamey. Brune is scathing in his criticism of Macarthur's role as Supreme Allied commander in the South-West Pacific.

In Brune's assessment, Macarthur firstly was ignorant of the potential impact of a Japanese incursion into Papua and eventually was focused purely on achieving a quick land victory before his rival Admiral Nimitz could achieve a land victory on Guadalcanal in the neighbouring South Pacific Theatre of Operations, thus winning for himself the confidence of General George Marshall and the US Joint Chiefs and a greater share of US resources in the Pacific.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By John Matlock on April 21, 2005
Format: Paperback
This book belongs in any library of books on World War II.

At the beginning of World War II the Australians sent the cream of their army to fight in North Africa. And they did a supurb job there. The stories of Montgomery's success over Rommel is filled with the Australians did this, and the Australians did that.

But then came Pearl Harbor and the Japanese expansion to the south and east. The Japanese expanded to the Solomons in the east. To the south the Japanese landed on and controlled the northern coast of the island of Papua New Guinea. Their intent was to have their army march southward to meet a naval force going around the island. From there was the possibility of invading Australia.

To the east the Americans drew the line by establishing a series of bases in the New Hebrides. First the American Navy fought a battle with this Japanese naval force, it is called the battle of the Coral Sea. Then the Americans invaded the Japanese conquered Solomon Islands to prevent the Japanese from building an air base at a place called Guadalcanal. The Japanese got no further east.

No less important, but almost unknown here in the United States was the fighting in The Australians held the southern. In between lay the Kododa trail. It was indeed a Bastard of a Place. It's still a bitch of a place just to walk it without being burdened with equipment and someone trying to kill you.

The Australians wanted their army back from North Africa, the British said "No." So the Australians had to fight the battle with militia and conscripts. They did, and they won. They pushed the Japanese back to the northern coast and with a series of other battles kicked them off of the island completely. From here the march northward began.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Gordon Innis on March 9, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My review of a replacement copy of A BASTARD OF A PLACE, purchased from Amazon. Paul Raymond wrote "Retreat From Kokoda" and made an acceptable account of the actions, but Peter Brune has published a very detailed and accurate research of the events and personalities involved in the Japanese attack on Papua in 1942, which resulted in the first ever land defeats of the Japanese army (4 in total), by Australian forces. As an Australian (Now Canadian), I was in Papua at the time. General MacArthur tried to conduct a war in mountainous country from a very safe location in Brisbane, Queensland, and having no personal first hand knowledge of the terrible conditions, made many irresponsible demands on the field forces. These battles were concluded about three weeks before the defeat of the Japs by U.S. Marines on Guardalcanal . Thank you, Peter Brune for this great production.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. A. Nofi on August 16, 2013
Format: Paperback
A summary of the review on StrategyPage.Com:

'The campaign largely by Australian troops against the Japanese invasion of Papua in 1942-1943 was one the grimmest of the Second World War, carried out under the most amazingly harsh environmental conditions, described as "the nastiest" theatre by one historian. Brune, a well-known Australian military historian, the author of Those Ragged Bloody Heroes: From the Kokoda Trail to Gona Beach 1942, We Band of Brothers, and other works, uses the letters, diaries, and memoirs of the troops, including Japanese and American troops, to supplement documents and historical accounts so as to give the reader a remarkably detailed look at the campaign, which at times hung on the actions of literally handfuls of men on both sides. Brune pays little attention to matters of policy and strategy, but focuses on the troops at the `sharp end.' There are vivid accounts of brutal combat among men on both sides, who were often ill and hungry, as the battle lines moved back and forth across some of the most rugged terrain in the world. A valuable read for anyone interested in men at war and particularly for those who are unfamiliar with this corner of the Pacific War.'

For the full review, see StrategyPage.Com
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