Archive for the ‘War and revolution’ Category

Criado – A Story of East Timor

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

This book brings to life for many Australians, the close connection between Australia and East Timor.

In 1941 – 42, Archie Campbell was a lieutenant in the “Sparrow Force” the 300 men of the 2/2nd Independent Company in a 14-month campaign of ambushes and hit-and-run tactics which effectively pinned down more than 15,000 Japanese troops in East Timor.

This book recounts the bloodless Australian landing in Portuguese East Timor, military actions against the Japanese, and eventual evacuation to Darwin. Central to Campbell’s experience is the ambush and execution of a section from his platoon, shortly after the Japanese landing in Dili.

In 1973, Archie returned to East Timor to meet Barana, the East Timorese man who, as a 12-year-old boy, helped and protected him during the campaign. Each Timorese boy who helped a commando and guarded him while he slept, was called that commando’s criado.

Ken White accompanied Archie in the 1973 journey to East Timor to find Barana. He has used excerpts from Archie’s own diary to tell the heart-warming story of their first meeting after 30 years.

Historical background on the centuries of Portuguese rule, the Japanese occupation and the more recent Indonesian invasion and incorporation add to the value of this book as another chapter in the Australia-East Timor story.

November 2002, 176pp
Paperback, 216 x 138 mm
ISBN: 0 9578735 4 9
Non-fiction category: War & revolution
1st Edition; RRP $aud 21-95
ISBN-13: 9780957873544

The Author,Ken White, is a senior journalist with wide experience in Northern Australia and the neighbouring region. He worked in Darwin during the 1970s and 1980s, covering some of the most significant events in recent Australian history.

While in Darwin, Ken covered the events of the Indonesian invasion and annexation of East Timor, establishing close links with some of the main participants in East Timor’s resistance. It was during this time that he joined Archie Campbell and Don Turton, on their journey to East Timor.

Ken’s second book published by Indra, True Stories of the Top End, includes previously unpublished material on significant events in the Northern Territory.

Following his time in Darwin, Ken moved to Adelaide, and now lives in Melbourne.

Black Ice: A Story of Modern China

Wednesday, July 4th, 2007

Black Ice is a novel set in China, a personal account of the turbulent years of Mao’s continuous revolution, including the social and political upheaval of the Cultural Revolution.

This is a Chinese story which brings to life the suffering, the adventure, the crushing losses, the unvanquished idealism of the otherwise anonymous heroes and heroines of China’s post-war period.

Black Ice tells the story of Mo Bing, from her under-cover work in Shanghai as a Communist Party cadre during the Civil War, through her denunciation and fall from grace during the Cultural Revolution to her rehabilitation and retirement in the early 1990s.

Significant parts of the story include the experience of Mo Bing’s husband as a soldier and prisoner of war during the Korean War. The Cultural Revolution, and the Red Guard movement feature strongly through Mo Bing and her son.

Life can never be exactly the same for Mo Bing and millions of her compatriots when Marshal Lin Biao, Mao’s ‘closest comrade-in-arms’ flees after being accused of attempting to assassinate Mao.

Shaken by the Cultural Revolution, as were many of her generation, Mo Bing develops as a survivor, her survival based on faith in herself, her undying idealism and her personal integrity.

With Black Ice, Trevor Hay and Fang Xiangshu continue their collaboration, building onto their earlier introduction of a distinctly Chinese aesthetic style into Australian literature.

June 1997. 182pp
Paperback, 215 x 138 mm
ISBN 0 9587718 6 3
RRP $aud 20.95

The AuthorsTrevor Hay is a senior lecturer in Literature and Cross-Cultural Studies at the University of Melbourne. He is a speaker of Mandarin Chinese and has lived and worked in China. He has continued to make regular return visits over more than twenty years.
Published works include Tartar City Woman, (Melbourne University Press, 1990), which won the Braille and Talking Book Library’s Audio Book of the Year Award in 1991.

Fang Xiangshu is a lecturer in Chinese at Deakin University. His doctoral thesis is on the Red Guard movement.
Originally from Shanghai, Fang is now an Australian citizen. He came to Australia as a visiting academic in 1984, staying until 1986. Upon his return to China, he found himself in trouble over ‘counter-revolutionary remarks’. Fang fled China and returned to Australia in 1987, where in 1990, he was granted permanent resident status on humanitarian grounds.

Trevor Hay and Fang Xiangshu wrote East Wind, West Wind (Penguin, 1992), which was well reviewed in a wide range of publications.

Best We Forget

Monday, June 11th, 2007

The story of the Vietnam veteran you’ve never read before!

Donkey Simpson, a typically naive young Australian, thrust into uniform by his country, sets out on the adventure of a lifetime – or so he thinks. But Vietnam is not what he expected. It’s a horror story. It’s a story over which he has no control, at first a ‘typical Army stuff-up’ which wrenches him this way and that, like a puppet soldier on a string, and then something far more dangerous and sinister threatens to destroy him – but who’s pulling the strings?

Best We Forget is the story of Simpson and his mates, caught in a war between powerful ideologies which none of them understood. They walk the fine line of sanity, swinging wildly between love and hate, pathos and humour, patriotism and treason, life and pointless death.

Donkey Simpson’s story is centred around the Public Relations Office of the Australian contingent, and a spy in the nearby Intelligence Office – a spy of unclear loyalties, working for the South Vietnamese allies, working for the enemy, or working only for survival?

The novel has its ugly aspects – most soldiers’ lack of respect for the Vietnamese, whether ally or enemy, the callous disregard for human life, and the treachery practised on both sides.

But it is not all ugly. The simple Christmas wishes of an Australian soldier in the front line, the commitment, no matter how strained, to loved ones back home and the special loyalty of mateship which is part of being in uniform throughout the world.

August 1998
Paperback, 390pp
215 x 138 mm
ISBN 0 9587718 9 8
RRP $aud 21.95

The Author
Bernard Clancy was a cadet journalist when his marble came out in the National Service lottery in 1966. He served in Vietnam as private secretary to the Australian Commander-in-Chief as well as in Army PR.
He later joined the Melbourne Sun newspaper, where he became a senior executive journalist and columnist, completing his service with the Herald and Weekly Times as Group Foreign Editor.

In 1988 he established his own corporate communications company advising major Australian and international companies, professional organisations and governments. In recent years Bernard has written major feature articles for The Age as well as for various magazines. Part of his “time out” is spent testing power boats for magazines.

Best We Forget is Bernard’s first novel, based on his experiences in Vietnam. He is also the author of a play, Foxholes of the Mind, the subject of which is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the military sense.
Bernard currently lives on the Bellarine Peninsula in Victoria, where he is working on a second novel.

Barefoot Guerrillas

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

An awakening…two occupied homelands…a young woman’s personal growth.Melati’s journey took her from a cloistered Swiss boarding school to the guerrilla camps of a scorched earth. Her own personal growth from a naive school girl to an independent young woman closely parallels the struggle for independence of her reclaimed homeland.

Harumi Wanasita tells the story of one woman, Melati. She also tells the story of a generation. The Dutch-Indonesian descent people at the time of Indonesia’s declaration of independence were the last generation of their culture. This is their story.

Reflecting the maturing of her character, Harumi varies her writing style as Melati develops. Naive at first for Melati’s wide-eyed innocence, the style is gradually refined as the novel moves through wartime Holland and Melati’s life with the guerrilla fighters in revolutionary Indonesia.

Through all the experiences which make Melati’s story, Harumi retains a language and style reminiscent of an earlier simpler time, when innocence was its own reward.

August 1996
First Edition, Paperback
371pp, 215 x 138 mm
ISBN 0 9587718 5 5
RRP $aud 21.95

The Author
Harumi Wanasita was born in Indonesia during the Dutch colonial period. After education in Europe, she returned to Indonesia during the 1945 – 49 struggle for independence.
Now a widow, Harumi’s former husband was Dr Danudirdjo Setiabuddhi, known before the Indonesian revolution as Dr. E. F. E. Douwes Dekker, who was declared an Indonesian national hero for his support for the nationalist revolution.
Her later husband was the late Major Wayne D. Evans, U.S.A.F.

Harumi has been published in Indonesia, with her works in Dutch and Indonesian appearing during the 1950s. Harumi now lives in San Jose, California. This novel, her first book published in English, is based largely on her own life as a young woman in occupied Holland and revolutionary Indonesia.

A River to Cross

Sunday, May 27th, 2007

Building his own bridges with Japan, ex-digger Richie meets a kindred spirit in a visiting Japanese composer. Sydney in the 1990s is a long way from wartime Papua, but a series of disconnected events takes Richie back fifty years to a strange battlefield encounter.

He remembers Yoshi – the Japanese soldier, like himself, fighting for his country, thinking of his family, his childhood, his future. On the Buna airstrip in December 1942, in a night-time lull in the fighting, they talk of girlfriends, customs, king, emperor, generals and politicians who started the war. Like himself, Yoshi was not sure if he would have a future.

But now, fifty years on, can two ex-servicemen forgive the excesses of war? Can their peoples really get to know each other, or are package tours and international trading as close as they will ever get?

A story of rapprochement between Australian and Japanese WWII soldiers.

Rivers never separated people in the past. So for us, it’s just a river to cross, and then we’re on the other side, meeting new experiences, new people.  

224pp Paperback,216 x 138 mm.
ISBN 0 9578735 1 4;
ISBN-13 9780957873517
Fiction; First Edition November 2001
RRP $22-95

The Author,Arthur Pike, is well-suited to write a novel about rapprochement between ex-WWII soldiers from Australia and Japan. He served in the 1st Australian Mountain Battery as a gunner and forward observation officer’s assistant at Kokoda and Buna, and as a coastwatcher in M Special Unit behind Japanese lines in New Britain.

In early post-war years, he was active in student affairs at Sydney University, as Arts Society secretary, and co-editor of the Arts Society annual magazine, Arna. He was a columnist and associate editor of the university’s newspaper, Honi Soit. Arthur graduated in Arts from Sydney University, and has travelled widely in Europe and Asia.
Dreamtime Beach …and other times, a collection of his poetry was published by Southern Cross University in 1996.