Drawing on material that had only just been released when this book was originally published in 1981, this book provides a graphic account of the war which, to all intents and purposes, was fought on Australian soil against Australian people – a war which came to the very door of Australia itself.
When the Japanese landed at Rabaul on 23 January 1942 it was the start of one of the fiercest campaigns of the war. On that day, with only a handful of badly trained troops, led by inexperienced officers, Australia faced its most serious threat yet.
It was to be a campaign with all the ingredients of great drama – cowardice and extraordinary courage, untrained men becoming brave, skilful fighters, torture and unimaginable brutality. On the infamous Kokoda trail, men died in their hundreds, as the Japanese advanced on Port Moresby. And when the Japanese retreated, the advancing Australian troops learnt just how brutal the fighting had been.