The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History
This is a comprehensive guide to Australian military history, broadly conceived within a critical and analytical framework. It contains 800 entries. The editors have sought a balance between various types of entries. Their interpretation of 'military history' is inclusive, extending beyondstandard categories such as battles, campaigns, biographies and weapons, and encompassing entries on the structures of various parts of the defence force organization and their evolution, military language and customs, literature dealing with military themes and treaties, alliances and acts ofparliament that have had a significant impact on the military. Biographical entries vary from long analytical essays on figures such as Thomas Blamey and C.E.W. Bean to much shorter entries on figures of less importance. Not every Chief of General Staff or RAN and RAAF equivalent has an entry: as the editors say, some were undistinguished. All office holdersof significant rank within the three services are listed in an appendix. No attempt is made to duplicate the Australian Dictionary of Biography; nor, except in two instances, have the editors commissioned articles on specific individuals from the historians who wrote those particular entries forADB. The editors' focus is different, combining essential biographical facts with more commentary and analysis. Battles are grouped into overall campaigns, thus providing a more integrated approach enabling greater analysis of broader issues. The Companion offers essential technical details on every significant weapons system employed in the three services since their inception, together with comments thathelp place those systems in an operational and sometimes political context. In addition, there are several longer articles on key aspects of military history and culture. The entry on conscription, while not neglecting past controversies, explains the mechanics of the various methods. There is anabsorbing entry on the ways in which animals have been used by the military. Aboriginal resistance to white invasion is covered in a long entry, as is Aboriginal service in the armed forces. There are also several articles on military influences in Australian culture - war films, literature, art,popular culture. Complete with 100 photographs and 32 maps, the result is a comprehensive work of reference, analysis and interest that will come to be regarded as the authoritative work in the field.
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