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The Landing in the Dawn

Dissecting a Legend - the Landing at ANZAC, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

James Hurst



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01 February 2019
History; First World War
The Gallipoli Landing of 25 April 1915 is arguably Australia's best known battle. It is commemorated each year with a national holiday, services, parades and great media attention. 2015, the centenary of the Gallipoli Campaign, was marked by great publicity and the release of many books, articles, films, documentaries and television series. Despite this attention, the Landing is still a poorly understood battle, with the historiography coloured by a century of misinformation, assumption, folklore and legend.

The Landing at the Dawn: Dissecting a Legend - The Landing at Anzac, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, re-examines and reconstructs the Anzac Landing by applying a new approach to an old topic - it uses the aggregated experience of a single, first-wave battalion over a single day, primarily through the investigation of veteran's letters and diaries, to create a body of evidence with which to construct a history of the battle.  This approach might be expected to shed light only these men's individual experience, but their accounts surprisingly divulge sufficient detail to allow an unprecedented reconstruction and re-examination of the battle; it effectively places much of the battlefield under a microscope.

The use of veterans' accounts to re-tell the story of the Landing is not new. Anecdotes have for many years been layered over the known history, established in C.E.W. Bean's Official History of Australia in the War, The Story of ANZAC, Volume I, to colour narrative. Here, detail extracted from an unprecedented range of primary and secondary sources, is used to reconstruct the history of the day, elevating participants' accounts from anecdote to eye-witness testimony. This shift in the way evidence is used to re-draw the foundation of the day, rather than simply painting it into the existing canvas, changes the way the battle is interpreted. Even though more than 100 years have passed since the Landing, and well over 1,000 books written on the campaign, much can be learned by returning to the  primary source, the soldier. 

The Landing has not previously been studied at this level of detail.  This work complements Bean's, by adding new evidence and digging deeper than Bean had the opportunity to do. It potentially re-writes the history of the Landing. This is not exclusively an Australian story - for example, one third of this battalion were born in the British Isles. This book has been described as a 'major contribution' that will change the way people view this historic battle, and is the most up to date work and the most comprehensive study on the subject since Bean's major work of 1921.
By:   James Hurst
Imprint:   Helicon
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 234mm,  Width: 156mm, 
ISBN:   9781911512462
ISBN 10:   1911512463
Series:   Wolverhampton Military Studies
Pages:   256
Publication Date:   01 February 2019
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Hardback
Publisher's Status:   Unspecified

Dr James Hurst is the author of Game to the Last, the 11th Australian Infantry Battalion at Gallipoli, Oxford University Press, Melbourne, May 2005, now in its third printing with Big Sky Publishing. He has written many articles published in journals and newspapers, and presented papers on the Gallipoli Campaign and other aspects of military history in Australia, Canada and Turkey. James was awarded his PhD from the Australian National University, Canberra, for his doctoral thesis 'Dissecting a Legend, Reconstructing the Landing at Anzac, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915' in 2014. He previously earned his Bachelor of Science degree, majoring in Biochemistry and Microbiology, from the University of Western Australia. James was born in Subiaco, Western Australia, and graduated from Hale School. In his younger years he spent three years in Britain and one in Washington State, USA, while his father conducted specialist medical research. James has visited Gallipoli eight times for research purposes and is currently working on a book covering the experience of the 2nd Regiment of Life Guards at the battle of Waterloo, 18 June 1815. He resides in Adelaide, South Australia, with his wife and daughter.

Reviews for The Landing in the Dawn: Dissecting a Legend - the Landing at ANZAC, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

With so much written about the landing on 25 April 1915 at Gallipoli one might be forgiven for asking the question is there still more to be learned? A glance at James Hurst's book The Landing in the Dawn and you will answer with a resounding yes! * Bulletin MHS 26/11/2018 *

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