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Description - All Day Long the Noise of Battle by Gerard Windsor

During the Tet Offensive in Vietnam in February 1968 an Australian infantry company assaulted a North Vietnamese bunker complex. In the longest sustained attack fought by Australians during the Vietnam War the soldiers went forward again and again over three days. Yet the battle passed without any notice in Australia at the time, and the men who fought it were further insulted by higher command's apparent failure to acknowledge what they had done. Above all decorations for their bravery seemed pitifully meagre. What happened? Why did these men fall through the net of our historical memory? In answering these questions Gerard Windsor brings up into relief so many of the individual soldiers who went into this battle. All Day Long the Noise of Battle is a book about the strengths and problems of this group of men, their alliances and tensions, their relaxations and misbehaviour, their morale, their internal tensions, their reactions to combat, their stand-out characters and their leaders. And throughout, All Day Long the Noise of Battle becomes an essay on the nature of men's memory of battle. Gerard Windsor brings the eye of a writer of fiction and an essayist to this episode of Australian heroism and tragedy. Full of memorable personalities and their stories All Day Long the Noise of Battle is a ground-breaking and moving book.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9781741969184
ISBN-10: 1741969182
Format: Paperback
Pages: 256
Imprint: Murdoch Books
Publisher: Murdoch Books
Publish Date: 1-Apr-2011
Country of Publication: Australia

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Book Review: All Day Long the Noise of Battle by Gerard Windsor - Reviewed by (11 Jul 2011)

In writing any history, the immediate issue facing the research/author is that of information sources. At first glance, this may seem a relatively straight forward thing in this instance when many of the participants are still alive and may be consulted along with official records. What Gerard Windsor amply demonstrates here is that this is anything but straight forward. The problem of memory is a real inhibitor – different accounts because of different memories of specific events even comes into play with accounts written very shortly after the event, let alone some forty years later.

Despite this issue of conflicting accounts and memories, Windsor has compiled a detailed and very interesting account of the actions of the men from C Company, Seventh Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (7RAR) in Operation Coburg.

Australian ‘memory’ of the fighting in the Tet Offensive in 1968 is heavily influenced by US sources such as film. Yet Australian infantry and artillery units on the ground also played roles. Operation Coburg saw the men of C Company in assault a North Vietnamese bunker complex. This was no fleeting contact in the jungle or a rain-obscured contact and rescue as at Long Tan, but a concentrated assault over three days. It was in fact arguably the longest attack by Australian troops during the Vietnam War. Yet the events were barely recorded in the media at the time and recognised little better by the military itself.

I found the book something of an eye-opener as it told the story of an event that has gone strangely unnoticed. Windsor has gone to considerable effort to relate as much of the account as possible to the individual soldiers taking part, which gives the book a greater human dimension than may otherwise have been the case.

This account should interest not just those with an interest in Australian military history, but also those with a broader interest in Australian history in general.

Ross Hamilton

Author Biography - Gerard Windsor

Gerard Windsor is one of Australia's most versatile and respected writers. His publications have included two novels, three collections of short stories and essays and three volumes of memoir. His most recent books have been the novel I Have Kissed Your Lips and a set of fifty comic biographies of famous Australians, Ned Kelly and the Odd Rellie. He won the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing in 2005, has appeared in either The Best Australian Short Stories or The Best Australian Essays most years since the series' inception in 1998, and is represented by his fiction in the Norton Anthology of Australian Literature. All Day Long the Noise of Battle is his first published work of history. He lives in Sydney.

Books By Gerard Windsor

Tempest-Tossed Church by Gerard Windsor
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I Have Kissed Your Lips by Gerard Windsor
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Mansions Of Bedlam by Gerard Windsor
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