Home > Realism, Uncategorized, Young Adult > Scarecrow Army by Leon Davidson

Scarecrow Army by Leon Davidson

Scarecrow Army by Leon Davidson. Pub Black dog books, 2005

One of the best and most accessible books on the Gallipoli Campaign in World War One that I have read.

All the facts surrounding the landing on the beach at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 are told from a New Zealand and Australian perspective. Historical background, leaders of both sides,  photographs of the setting and the action plus a non fictional diary of a New Zealand soldier telling of what it was like from a soldiers viewpoint.

But there is more than that. Between the facts are quotes from soldiers, politicians and Officers and facts that enhance the Gallipoli story and tell it like it was. For example :- the identity discs worn around the soldiers necks were named by the soldiers as “meat tickets” on account of the slaughter of so many men.

Leon Davidson researched this battle very well and uses a fictional soldier Pte Pete Walden to tell all the stories that his true soldier did not. This raises the book above your standard historical accounts. He does not shirk from controversy either questioning why so many men obeyed orders and went to their deaths because of incompetent decision making by their officers.

Davidson also tells a short version from a Turkish perspective who saw the ANZACs as invaders, which of course they were and to top it off he tells of the little known story of the tactical withdrawl from Gallipoli Peninsula, the one part of the campaign that went like clockwork.

This is a quite brilliant book which will appeal to those more interested in reading non fiction and action books. This is a New Zealand story and one that should never be forgotten.

High school students will find it most useful.

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