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The Diggers' Menagerie: Mates, Mascots and Marvels - True Stories of Animals Who Went to War [Kindle Edition]

Barry Stone
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Kindle Price: $11.99
Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
This price was set by the publisher

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Book Description

The fascinating stories of Australian and New Zealand soldiers and the animals that have accompanied them, from the Boer War through to the conflict in Afghanistan. From the Boer War to the conflict in Vietnam, from the Somme to Afghanistan, from beasts of burden and bomb detectors to providers of companionship and light relief for the men and women in war, animals have played a vital role in Australian military campaigns. Dogs, cats, pigeons, camels and horses among others, all took part. Here Barry Stone documents, through letters, journals, photographs and first-hand accounts, the stories of the myriad creatures who went off to various wars with Australian soldiers - adding a poignant layer to our military history. Highlighting individual stories, he follows not just their wartime adventures, but in some cases what happened to animals after the wars had ended, who survived and how.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1876 KB
  • Print Length: 215 pages
  • Publisher: ABC Books (March 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0062GO7FK
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #357,191 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow at times, but worth reading March 6, 2012
By Michael
It was my last day in our nation's capital, Canberra, and I took the opportunity to visit the National War Memorial. A close friend of mine is a volunteer guide there, and he took me and my partner on a private tour of the Memorial and its museum. It was one of the most interesting and moving experiences that I had had in a long time. Perhaps fired up by war nostalgia, I bought this recently released book to read on my flight back to Brisbane. Was it a good use of money and time?

It was always going to be a hard ask to write a can't-put-it-down best seller type of book about animals in the military, and frankly this book at times tends to plod rather than gallop. It is meticulously researched and crammed full of history, but some sections (for example the discussion on horses in the Boer and Great wars) seem to labour the same few points.

But there are some strengths to recommend it.

Firstly it is one of those books full of interesting anecdotes. 'Horrie' the Egyptian terrier promoted to a corporal in the 2/1 Machine Gun Battalion; the cat who survived the sinking of three ships, the first German (where he was known as Oscar), the next two British (where he was called Sam), leading to him finally earning the nickname 'the Jonah Cat'; or Army Pigeon #139 DD 43 T who flew 23 missions covering a total of 1,600 kilometres and single handedly saved Army Supply Ship 1402 (well, OK, not single handedly).

In sharing these anecdotes, Stone never trivialises or romanticises the tragedy and suffering of war. There is an unwavering respect for the human and animal suffering that sits behind the stories in this book.
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