A Stout Pair of Boots: A Guide to Exploring Australia's by Peter Stanley

By Peter Stanley

Teaching the best way to get the main from your adventure while traveling an Australian battlefield, Peter Stanley—a veteran of battlefield examine in Borneo, Egypt, Turkey, and France—advises the right way to arrange for and behavior battlefield study. He provides wide-ranging and sensible tricks and tips, together with what to take, even if to move by myself or in a bunch, how you can remain secure, who to touch sooner than you move, and the way to prevent getting in poor health when you are there. Drawing on his personal huge event, and that of lots of his buddies and co-workers, Peter sends an inspiring message to get out of the armchair and stroll the floor the place Australia's army heritage used to be made.

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The challenge with the seemingly familiar place is to approach it with fresh, new questions. That spirit of curiosity and imagination can make a visit to even the most heavily signposted battlefield a revelation. Curiosity and imagination? Surely battlefields are places of trauma and horror: why would anyone want to spend time on them? J. Glenn Gray, in his book The Warriors, offers ‘Reflections on Men in Battle’, pondering why he was drawn to think and write about the Second World War in the decades after he gratefully returned from war service to the contemplative life of a philosopher.

He climbed the Lion mound—a vast conical hill topped with a monument that disfigures the battlefield—to take it in from the air, so to speak. Then he walked the field, noticing a stable ‘that had evidently been used in the struggle’ (the imaginative eye is an essential item in the day-pack). While exploring the roads in the rear of the French position, the Rev. Bean noticed that they were ‘deeply sunken’. This, he thought ‘must have made the retreat of the Young Guard a fearful havoc’. He would pass on his eye for ground and ability to craft a battle narrative to his son.

Still, his advice has been a beacon for a certain sort of historian ever since. Many Australian historians—including Manning Clark, Russel Ward and Keith Hancock—have echoed Tawney’s admonition; this book represents merely its latest outing. Military historians aren’t the only people to have taken an interest in field work. But while historians of industry have also donned their stout boots (and while archaeologists have picked up trowels and toothbrushes too), among the most determined followers of Tawney’s dictum have been military historians.

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