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Dave Hall

Shame and the Captives

Shame and the Captives

Tom Keneally

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- During the second world war, in the fictional mid-west town of Gawell, Alice and her father-in-law run the farm while Alice's husband is confined to a prison camp in Europe.  Nearby is an army base and a detention camp for captured Italian and Japanese prisoners-of-war.  This camp is run in a benevolent way by its commanding officer, an Englishman with a difficult marriage and an uneasy relationship with his second in command. 
The Italians are sent out to work on farms in the area but the Japanese are not amenable to this practice for their shame at being captured prevents them from co-operating in any way with their guards, whom they despise.  Despite being completely perplexed by the their behaviour and values, their British and Australian captors treat them well, sticking strictly to the Geneva Convention, hoping that by doing so their soldier sons,  in turn prisoners of the Japanese in Asia, will benefit.  
Tom Keneally's new book explores the seemingly intractable cultural differences that exist between the two races, differences that will lead to the horrors of the 'breakout'.  Told from both the Australian and Japanese viewpoint this is an unsettling and, towards the end, harrowing read.  It is also a fascinating look at small town country life during the war and at the people there.  Isolation, loneliness, fear of the unknown and the unknowable all combine to erupt the terrible events of August 1944 that really occurred in Cowra, New South Wales. ~ David Hall
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Pacific 360: Australia's Battle for Survival in World War II

Pacific 360: Australia's Battle for Survival in World War II

Roland Perry

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- It's hard for those of us who weren't there to imagine what it was like in Australia in early 1942. After Pearl Harbour, the fall of Singapore and the attacks on Darwin, Australia was virtually defends Pacific war, from Prime Minister Curtin and his dealings with Churchill and Roosevelt to the diggers who stopped, then pushed back, the Japanese army. Dave


On 7 December 1941, Australia was pushed to centre stage as Japan entered World War II and began the offensive which triggered the Pacific War.  Roland Perry captures the drama and detail of the Australian Government's political and military struggle with allies and enemies alike as those at home prepared for a fight to the death, while in the Pacifc theatre Australia's armed forces fought for the nation's very existence.  This chronological dual narrative follows the story of Australia's Pacific War on the front lines and at home, and how such a critical moment in history has affected and shaped Australia's political and social culture.
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The Origin of Species (includes The Voyage of the Beagle)

The Origin of Species (includes The Voyage of the Beagle)

Charles Darwin ,  Ruth Padel

ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ----- Great scientists don’t necessarily make great writers, but with these books Darwin showed he was indeed both. The Voyage is part travelogue, part natural history, describing his adventures and observations during the five year voyage of the Beagle. Originally written as part of the official history of the voyage, it was so well written that it was published as a separate book. The Origin is one of the more accessible 'great books of science' and a brilliant example of how to give people a multitude of reasons for accepting your argument. Either of these books would be a bargain for this price, but getting both for that is a steal! Dave


This title is presented with an introduction by Darwin's great-great-granddaughter, Ruth Padel. When the eminent naturalist Charles Darwin returned from South America on board the H.M.S Beagle in 1836, he brought with him the notes and evidence which would form the basis of his landmark theory of evolution of species by a process of natural selection. This theory, published as  The Origin of Species  in 1859, is the basis of modern biology and the concept of biodiversity. It also sparked a fierce scientific, religious and philosophical debate which still continues today.
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