Beersheba: A Journey Through Australia's Forgotten War

Overview

In October 1917 members of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade took part in what is now known as the 'last great cavalry charge'. Waving bayonets overhead, they charged across six kilometres of open ground, cheating bombs, shells and bullets before capturing, in a desperate hand-to-hand battle, the Turkish trenches that held the key to the strategic stronghold of Beersheba.

The charge was the last daring act of a day-long fight by combined British forces to capture Beersheba,...

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Overview

In October 1917 members of the 4th Australian Light Horse Brigade took part in what is now known as the 'last great cavalry charge'. Waving bayonets overhead, they charged across six kilometres of open ground, cheating bombs, shells and bullets before capturing, in a desperate hand-to-hand battle, the Turkish trenches that held the key to the strategic stronghold of Beersheba.

The charge was the last daring act of a day-long fight by combined British forces to capture Beersheba, and also a turning point in Britain's war against the Ottoman Empire, sending the Turks fleeing north to ultimate defeat.

Yet the story has slipped through the cracks of history.

Journalist Paul Daley's journey in search of Beersheba takes him from Australia to Israel, from past to present, and from the battlefields to the archives, where he discovers a dark episode in Australian history that sits starkly at odds with the Anzac myth and legend.

For Daley, the Beersheba of then and now comes to take on new meaning.

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Editorial Reviews

The Age
This is an important book, telling a complex story. . . Journalism can, on occasions, do a better job than history.
From the Publisher
"This is an important book, telling a complex story. Daley constantly reminds us that conflict is endemic to the region he is writing about and he tells us of the tines he was in danger himself . . . . Journalism can, on occasions, do a better job than history."  —Michael McKernan, Age
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780522855999
  • Publisher: Melbourne University Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/1/2009
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Daley is a journalist with 21 years of experience. He is the author of Armageddon and the recipient of the Walkley Award and the Paul Lyneham Award for excellence in press-gallery reporting.

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Table of Contents

Composition of the imperial mounted troops xi

Map of the Charge of Beersheba xii

Map of the light horse battlefields xii

Prologue 1

Part I Towards Beersheba

1 Hebron Road 15

2 Bushmen of the Empire 30

3 Sideshow in Sinai 46

4 Mystery Joe 64

5 Legends of Romani 70

6 Ghosts of the desert 88

7 Badlands 101

8 The Bull arrives 116

9 Beersheba 124

10 Neck or nothing 142

Part II At rest in Israel

11 Oasis for the dead 163

12 Fathers and sons 189

13 Serendipity 207

14 Cobbers 216

15 Hoarding the legend 231

16 Inside Jaffa Gate 249

17 Desert dogs 264

18 The hand of God 272

19 Last drinks 290

20 Waiting for rockets 299

21 Cop this, dear Jacko 312

Part III A terrible thing

22 The massacre 327

23 Allenby and the Anzacs 347

24 A real bad thing 365

25 Inconvenient truth 374

26 Burying the past 387

27 Blood money 393

28 A bastard of a place 407

Epilogue 414

Acknowledgements 421

Notes 426

Index 441

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