Behind the Lines by Andrew Carroll

Saturday, 02 April 2011 01:40
©July/August 2005 Book Review by Dorothy Rowe Behind the Lines: Revealing the uncensored letters from our war-torn worldby Andrew CarrollEbury Press - 447 pp £19.99 My father was a great story teller. At bedtime when I was a small child I would demand he tell me a story. My favourite stories were those about when he was a soldier in France during the First World War. As I got older he added more realistic details to these stories, and I came to see how he had left his home in the Australian bush as an inexperienced young man with little education and a passion for sport and returned a committed Socialist and atheist with an intense compassion for fellow soldiers whatever their nationality. He despised the generals who treated their men as no more than disposable puppets, and he hated all political leaders who start wars, and what he called ‘the vested interests’ who profited from war. He was one of those Andrew Carroll called ‘combat veterans’ who abhor ‘the glorification of war itself. They believe that sanitizing or concealing its ugliness only trivializes the sacrifices made by the men and women who serve.’ Dad would have wept and laughed…