Crack Hardy

Overview

This is the true story of three Australian soldiers, the Searle brothers. One brother was killed at Gallipoli, another on the Western Front. One came home a decorated hero. Viv, a gifted poet who was planning to be a clergyman before the war, became a deadly efficient sniper. Ray shot himself and was charged with desertion. Ned was a true Australian larrikin, up for anything, and the black sheep of the family. The Searle boys had to crack hardy, as they fought in one grueling campaign after another - from the ...

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Overview

This is the true story of three Australian soldiers, the Searle brothers. One brother was killed at Gallipoli, another on the Western Front. One came home a decorated hero. Viv, a gifted poet who was planning to be a clergyman before the war, became a deadly efficient sniper. Ray shot himself and was charged with desertion. Ned was a true Australian larrikin, up for anything, and the black sheep of the family. The Searle boys had to crack hardy, as they fought in one grueling campaign after another - from the first wave of the Gallipoli landings to Lone Pine, from Ypres to Messines and Hill 60 in Flanders, to bloody Somme battles at Mouquet Farm, Bullecourt, and Hamel, with their brothers and mates falling all around them. Back home in an Australian country town, their mother, father, sisters, and remaining brother also had to crack hardy, as the bad news from the front just kept coming and coming. Told from the heart by the Searle brothers' great-nephew, award-winning author Stephen Dando-Collins using the letters and journals of the Searle brothers and remembrances of other family members, Crack Hardy is a compelling book that defines Australia and Australians during the making of our nation on the far-flung battlefields of the First World War.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Crack Hardy is an emotional story because it tells of a tragedy from which our country is only now beginning to recover. It is an epic. To be memorable, an epic needs powerful writing, and here it is. The book could have been so much less in the hands of someone less skilled. You will be greatly rewarded by reading this book. - Bill Gammage Wellington once said 'Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle won.' Crack Hardy is a beautifully scripted expose of one family's experience of war. The intimacy and accuracy of the Searle brothers' story does not glamorize conflict but poignantly illustrates the actions men take and the emotions they feel when confronted with the brutal circumstances of combat. Stephen Dando-Collins can rest assured that not only do the spirits, memories and history of his great uncles live through this tale, but also those of their comrades in arms and the families that loved them. Like Facey's A Fortunate Life, this book deserves to be required reading as part of the Australian history school curriculum. - Major General Michael Jeffery AC AO (Mil) CVO MC (Retd) Dando-Collins adroitly interweaves a compelling family history with the broader canvas of the Anzacs... Crack Hardy is a fine and important book. - The Sydney Morning Herald It's entertaining stuff... Crack Hardy presents the original Anzacs as men their ancestors can admire and understand. - The Australian Stephen Dando-Collins skilfully braids together the Searle brothers' story and that of Australia in the Great War, balancing the family's experience and tragedy against the broader canvas of a nation's war. - Dr Peter Stanley The narrative is copiously and meticulously documented, drawing throughout on a cache of family diaries, letters and photographs. Moreover, Dando-Collins pitches the story adeptly; the brother's travails are recounted in a way which is not too sentimental, not unduly melodramatic, rarely overwritten - The Canberra Times This well-researched and well-written book also helps explain how the Anzac spirit was forged and why it helped mould the Australian identity. - The Launceston Examiner If there is one book Tasmanians should read as Anzac Day nears, it is this wonderfully eloquent history. - Carlene Ellwood, Sunday Tasmanian
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781742755731
  • Publisher: Random House Australia
  • Publication date: 7/1/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.04 (w) x 5.04 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Stephen Dando-Collins is the author of the acclaimed Captain Bligh's Other Mutiny and a successful series of popular histories about the legions of ancient Rome published in the US, UK, and Australia: Caesar's Legion, Nero's Killing Machine, and Cleopatra's Kidnappers. Pasteur's Gambit was shortlisted for the science prize in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and won the Queensland Premier's Science Award. Crack Hardy is a deeply personal, exhilarating, and moving story for Stephen to share.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Maps x

Introduction xiii

1914-1915: From Patriotic Fervour to Retreat 1

Chapter 1 To Do, or to Die 3

Chapter 2 Brothers in Arms 12

Chapter 3 A Uniform Approach 23

Chapter 4 The Off 27

Chapter 5 Rustics in the Ranks 34

Chapter 6 Part of the Game 38

Chapter 7 First Blood 44

Chapter 8 Faraway 54

Chapter 9 The Lost Comrade 68

Chapter 10 The March Hunger 78

Chapter 11 The Deserter 88

Chapter 12 To Gaba Tepe 92

1915-1916: A Tragic Miscalculation 105

Chapter 13 A Second Chance 107

Chapter 14 Back at It 116

Chapter 15 The Gallipoli Grind 130

Chapter 16 All in the Game 144

Chapter 17 Ray's Turn 152

Chapter 18 Lone Pine and Hill 971 162

Chapter 19 A Sniper's Bullet 178

Chapter 20 Regret to Advise 189

Chapter 21 Brave and Popular 196

Chapter 22 Coming Together 204

Chapter 23 An Educated Woman 215

1916-1918: Climbing to Victory Over Australian Corpses 235

Chapter 24 Flanders First 237

Chapter 25 Pozières and Mucky Farm 246

Chapter 26 Fabeck Graben 258

Chapter 27 En Route for Anywhere 268

Chapter 28 Ypres in Winter 275

Chapter 29 The Somme Mud Larks 286

Chapter 30 Flamin' Tanks and Bloody Bullecourt 292

Chapter 31 The Messines Wound 306

Chapter 32 A Great Blow 314

Chapter 33 A VC at Hamel 323

Epilogue 333

Appendix - Fates of the Mates 339

Bibliography 345

Notes 349

Index 353

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