Leonard Mann privately published his first novel, Flesh in Armour, in Melbourne in 1932, after he was unable to place it with a publisher in Australia or England. The novel was an immediate success, and Mann was subsequently awarded the Australian Literature Society's gold medal for outstanding book of the year. The book's merits then established, it was republished in England and Australia in 1944.
Nearly 420,000 Australians enlisted during World War I, and more than half were killed, wounded, or captured. The conflict was the most costly in Australia's history. In the fates of his protagonists-one dies valiantly, one dies in an abject and mentally unhinged state, one survives-Mann pays tribute to the sacrifices of his countrymen and reminds readers of the unforgiving test of character found in war then and now. This edition features a new introduction by Australian-born writer Janette Turner Hospital, who inserts the book into the historical context of AIF combat experiences and chronicles Mann's military service in the war and literary career thereafter.