Nearly a century has passed since the events that gave rise to the Anzac legend, but changing social attitudes and the effects of passing time continue to transform our understanding of it.
In a new edition of his 1994 book Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend, Monash University historian Professor Alistair Thomson explores how the Anzac legend has transformed over the past quarter century; how a ‘post-memory’ of the First World War creates new challenges and opportunities for making sense of the national past, and how veterans’ war memories can still challenge and complicate national mythologies.
Professor Alistair Thomson from the University’s School of Philosophical, Historical and International Studies said this new edition of Anzac Memories has allowed him to return to his own family’s war history that he could not write about twenty years ago because of the stigma of war and mental illness. He has also reconsidered the lives and memories of the war veterans featured in the original book.
“In researching for this book, I was able to look through newly released repatriation files and it made me question my own earlier account of veterans’ post-war lives and memories,” Professor Thomson said.
“It has made me take a new look at war and memory.”
Anzac Memories was first published to acclaim in 1994, and has achieved international renown for its pioneering contribution to oral history and to the study of war memory and mythology.
The Anzac (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) legend rests upon the assumption that Australia came of age as a nation when the Anzacs landed on Gallipoli on April 25, 1915. Anzac Memories reflects on how that legend was created and how working class war veterans came to live with, and sometimes against, the legend of their lives.
The 2013 edition of Anzac Memories features a foreword written by internationally renowned historian Professor Jay Winter. Professor Winter is the Charles J Stille Professor of History at Yale University, where he focuses his research on World War I and its impact on the 20th century. Australian historian Professor Kenneth Inglis, who has written extensively on the Anzac tradition, has also provided comments.
Professor Thomson’s previous books include Anzac Memories: Living With the Legend (1994), The Oral History Reader (1998 and 2006, with Rob Perks), Ten Pound Poms: Australia’s Invisible Migrants (2005, with Jim Hammerton), Moving Stories: an intimate history of four women across two countries (2011) andOral History and Photography (2011, with Alexander Freund).
Anzac Memories: Living with the Legend is available through Monash University Publishing.
Alistair Thomson is Professor of History at Monash University, School of Philosophical, Historical & International Studies.
Consuming Anzac: some thoughts on the Anzac centenary
If prizes were given out for the enthusiasm with which nations commemorate the centenary of the Great War, Australia would be first by a long shot. Dr Carolyn Holbrook looks at ‘Brandzac’.
From hostility to lasting friendship: cultural reflections from Turkish and Anzac soldiers
For the first time in Australia, stories of Turkish soldiers will be told alongside those of Anzac soldiers in a bilingual exhibition at Monash Univeristy about the Gallipoli experience. The exhibition has been curated by Dr Azer Banu Kemaloğlu, of Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University.
On remembering and forgetting war
Join us this Remembrance Day for the launch of – World War One: A History in 100 Stories – a path-breaking social history written by Monash historians Professor Bruce Scates, Rebecca Wheatley and Laura James.
Monash MOOC: World War 1 history in 100 stories
Due to the remarkable success of the free online course, ‘World War One: A History … Continue reading Monash MOOC: World War 1 history in 100 stories
Soldiers’ real stories are the best defence against Remembrance Day conditioning
Our politicians ask us to imagine that our ‘fallen’ soldiers ‘sacrificed’ themselves for a higher … Continue reading Soldiers’ real stories are the best defence against Remembrance Day conditioning
Monash University commemorates the Great War Centenary
One hundred years ago today, on 1 November 1914, the first deployment of Australian troops … Continue reading Monash University commemorates the Great War Centenary
The untold stories of World War One now online at “One Hundred Stories”
One hundred years after the beginning of “The Great War”, it may surprise some people … Continue reading The untold stories of World War One now online at “One Hundred Stories”
What have we forgotten this Remembrance Day?
by Bruce Scates Red poppies are a familiar sight in November. We see them pinned … Continue reading What have we forgotten this Remembrance Day?
Book launch: Maestro John Monash, Australia’s greatest Citizen General
A new book by Tim Fischer, Maestro John Monash: Australia’s Greatest Citizen General, is to be launched … Continue reading Book launch: Maestro John Monash, Australia’s greatest Citizen General
A family at war – the Allshorns of Peel St, North Melbourne
By Elizabeth Johnson On January 7, 1915, Frank Allshorn and his eldest son both enlisted … Continue reading A family at war – the Allshorns of Peel St, North Melbourne
Who owns the myths and legends of the Great War centenary?
By Ben Wellings and Shanti Sumartojo When prime minister Tony Abbottdeclared at Villers-Bretonneux that “no place … Continue reading Who owns the myths and legends of the Great War centenary?
Handle with care: Nurses make own sacrifices overseas
by Louise Almeida They were four young Australian women who wanted to make a contribution … Continue reading Handle with care: Nurses make own sacrifices overseas