Title: On the Warpath – An Anthology of Australian Military Travel
Author: Robin Gerster and Peter Pierce
Edition: 1st Edition
Publisher: Melbourne University Press
Publication Date: 2004
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 368 pages
Comments: ‘Travel is a political as well as recreational action. And one of the main avenues of travel has been military, both in the excursionary exploits of warring armies and in the massed battalions of war tourists–that hybrid collection of pilgrims and patriots, voyeurs and vandals–who follow in their wake.’
This important anthology reveals the many ways in which going to war has formed a cultural bridge between Australia and the world. From the Sudan in 1885 to Afghanistan in 2001, the connection of war to travel is illustrated in the observations of writers as varied as ‘Banjo’ Paterson, George Johnston, Nancy Wake, John Pilger, Lily Brett and Peter Weir. Selecting writings from combatants abroad as well as the reflections of sightseers who travel to foreign battlefields and war sites, Robin Gerster and Peter Pierce reveal how the experience of war has both broadened and refined (and sometimes distorted) Australian views of the world. Their lively collection crosses the boundaries between literature, literary criticism, travel writing, war writing and cultural commentary.
‘Between them, Robin Gerster and Peter Pierce are authorities on travel, war and literature. Their formidable talents are splendidly combined in this brilliantly conceived collection, which memorably evokes the pathos, humour, high drama, farce and tragedy of the “warpath”.’
‘Armistice Day in Paris, syphilis in Cairo, escape from Singapore. On the Warpath presents dispatches from arenas of war, told by men and–unusually –women, of Australia’s military forces, that are sometimes terrible, often politically incorrect, but always compelling. Vivid reporting.’
About the Author
Robin Gerster is Associate Professor in the School of Literary, Visual & Performance Studies at Monash University. He has published widely in the areas of war and travel literatures, including the award-winning critique Big-noting: The Heroic Theme in Australian War Writing (MUP), Hotel Asia: An Anthology of Australian Literary Travelling to ‘the East’ and his travel book Legless in Ginza: Orientating Japan (MUP).
Peter Pierce is Professor of Australian Literature at James Cook University. He writes frequently for the national press; has co-edited several books including the anthology Clubbing of the Gun-fire: 101 War Poems (MUP) and the critical study Vietnam Days: Australia and the Impact of Vietnam, and is also the author of Australian Melodramas: Thomas Keneally’s Fiction and The Country of Lost Children: An Australian Anxiety