Written by Peter Fitzsimons
Review by Alan Cassady-Bishop

The name echoes throughout the world as an example of both the heroism and folly of warfare. In 1915, the Ottoman Empire was a shadow of its former glory but had solid control over the Dardanelles, a narrow strait of water linking the Aegean Sea to Constantinople, the Bosphorus, and the Black Sea. Using a combined force of British, Colonial and French regiments, the high command wanted a land assault to rapidly push across the Gallipoli peninsula and support a fleet to force the straights. However arrogance, ineptitude, and lack of detailed information meant that over 568,000 soldiers were effectively pinned down into trenches near the landing beaches for just over eight months. With Turkish forces entrenched on higher ground, what followed was a lethal stalemate, and after 43,921 Allied and 86,692 Turkish deaths, a seemingly impossible evacuation left the peninsula to the Turks.

Clear and intelligent, this book combines contemporary accounts from all sides and all ranks with skilled narrative which, with understandable emotion, brings home the heroism and stupidity of the doomed campaign. It’s argued well that if nothing else, Gallipoli marks the birth of the Australian nationhood from the British Empire’s colony.