The inspiration for a major two-part ABC documentary, KOKODA is set to win over a whole new audience 'Never in my life ... had I seen soldiers who looked so shocked and so tired and so utterly weary as those men' Brigadier John Rogers, Australia's Director of Military Intelligence, 1942Now a major two-part ABC documentary series produced with Screen Australia's Making History, Paul Ham's KOKODA is the bestselling history of the crucial battles in Papua New Guinea that saved Australia from the threat of Japanese attack.In this acclaimed account, Ham describes both sides of the appalling struggle along the Kokoda track in 1942 when a few badly trained Australian troops confronted the Imperial Japanese Army in the worst terrain imaginable.Few of us know the true story behind that legend; few know the guts inside the myth. Kokoda was a war without mercy; a predatory war, where men hunted down men like wild animals. No army had fought in such conditions; no Allied general believed it possible.Yet Kokoda was a vital struggle; undoubtedly a turning point in the Pacific War. Had the Japanese captured Port Moresby, Australia would surely have been bombed and cut off as the only base in the South West Pacific for the Allied counter-offensive.the diggers were fighting for their very country's survival as the last free nation in Asia.Paul Ham is the author of VIEtNAM: tHE AUStRALIAN WAR and the Australia correspondent for the LONDON SUNDAY tIMES. He co-wrote, co-produced and appears in the ABC's two-part documentary based on this book, which, for the first time, took a camera crew along the full length of the KOKODA tRACK.
Few years can justly be said to have transformed the earth: 1914 did.

In July that year, Germany, Austria-Hungary, Russia, Britain and France were poised to plunge the world into a war that would kill or wound 37 million people, tear down the fabric of society, uproot ancient political systems and set the course for the bloodiest century in human history.

In the longer run, the events of 1914 set the world on the path toward the Russian Revolution, the Treaty of Versailles, the rise of Nazism and the Cold War.

In 1914: The Year the World Ended, award-winning historian Paul Ham tells the story of the outbreak of the Great War from German, British, French, Austria-Hungarian, Russian and Serbian perspectives.Along the way, he debunks several stubborn myths.

European leaders, for example, did not stumble or 'sleepwalk' into war, as many suppose. They fully understood that a small conflict in the Balkans - the tinderbox at the heart of the continent - could spark a European war. They well knew what their weapons could do.

Yet they carried on. They accepted - and, in some cases, even seemed to relish - what they saw as an inevitable clash of arms. They planned and mapped every station on the path to oblivion. These pied pipers of the apocalypse chose war in the full knowledge that millions would follow, and die, on their orders.

1914: The Year the World Ended seeks to answer the most vexing question of the 20th century: Why did European governments decide to condemn the best part of a generation of young men to the trenches and four years of slaughter, during which 8.5 million would die?
Passchendaele epitomises everything that was most terrible about the Western Front. The photographs never sleep of this four-month battle, fought from July to November 1917, the worst year of the war: blackened tree stumps rising out of a field of mud, corpses of men and horses drowned in shell holes, terrified soldiers huddled in trenches awaiting the whistle.

The intervening century, the most violent in human history, has not disarmed these pictures of their power to shock. At the very least they ask us, on the 100th anniversary of the battle, to see and to try to understand what happened here. Yes, we commemorate the event. Yes, we adorn our breasts with poppies. But have we seen? Have we understood? Have we dared to reason why?

What happened at Passchendaele was the expression of the 'wearing-down war', the war of pure attrition at its most spectacular and ferocious.

Paul Ham's Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth shows how ordinary men on both sides endured this constant state of siege, with a very real awareness that they were being gradually, deliberately, wiped out. Yet the men never broke: they went over the top, when ordered, again and again and again. And if they fell dead or wounded, they were casualties in the 'normal wastage', as the commanders described them, of attritional war. Only the soldier's friends at the front knew him as a man, with thoughts and feelings. His family back home knew him as a son, husband or brother, before he had enlisted. By the end of 1917 he was a different creature: his experiences on the Western Front were simply beyond their powers of comprehension.

The book tells the story of ordinary men in the grip of a political and military power struggle that determined their fate and has foreshadowed the destiny of the world for a century. Passchendaele lays down a powerful challenge to the idea of war as an inevitable expression of the human will, and examines the culpability of governments and military commanders in a catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation.
IN FEBRUARY 1534 a radical religious sect whose disciples were being persecuted throughout Europe seized the city of Mnster, in the German-speaking land of Westphalia.

They were convinced that they were God's Elect, specially chosen by the Almighty to be the first to ascend to Paradise on Judgement Day, as told in the Book of Revelation.

And it would all happen here, in 'New Jerusalem' (as they renamed the city), during Easter 1535, when God and Christ would descend and usher in the End Times.

But the 'Melchiorites', as they were called after their founding prophet, would be well-prepared for Apocalypse, swiftly turning the city into a Christian theocracy: They threw out the Catholics and Lutherans, 'rebaptised' their followers, destroyed all old religious icons, adopted a communist system of shared property, and imposed a new law of polygamy that compelled all women and girls who'd reached puberty to marry.

Because women outnumbered men about three times, many men had 3-5 wives. John of Leiden, who proclaimed himself 'king' of New Jerusalem, had 16 wives - all according to God's exhortation in Genesis to 'go forth and multiply'.

The backlash against the sect would be long and brutal. The Catholic and Lutheran powers were determined to make a terrible example of what they saw as a dangerous mob of crazed heretics.

And so began the siege of Munster. For 18 months, the city was shut off from the world, periodically attacked and then slowly starved. And yet, for most of this time, the sect clung to their faith with astonishing resilience, even as they descended into hellish suffering.

'New Jerusalem: Judgement Day 1535' is a story of religious obsession and persecution, of noble ideals trampled to dust, of slavish sexual surrender..all in the name of Christ.

It tells of one of the first violent revolts of the Reformation, which, together with the Peasants' War of 1524-25, helped to ignite 110 years of religious conflict that ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

The story holds a terrible fascination in our own time, on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, scarred again by the return of religious wars, of hatred and slaughter, all in the name of a god or a faith.
IN FEBRUARY 1534 a radical religious sect whose disciples were being persecuted throughout Europe seized the city of Mnster, in the German-speaking land of Westphalia.

They were convinced that they were God's Elect, specially chosen by the Almighty to be the first to ascend to Paradise on Judgement Day, as told in the Book of Revelation.

And it would all happen here, in 'New Jerusalem' (as they renamed the city), during Easter 1535, when God and Christ would descend and usher in the End Times.

But the 'Melchiorites', as they were called after their founding prophet, would be well-prepared for Apocalypse, swiftly turning the city into a Christian theocracy: They threw out the Catholics and Lutherans, 'rebaptised' their followers, destroyed all old religious icons, adopted a communist system of shared property, and imposed a new law of polygamy that compelled all women and girls who'd reached puberty to marry.

Because women outnumbered men about three times, many men had 3-5 wives. John of Leiden, who proclaimed himself 'king' of New Jerusalem, had 16 wives - all according to God's exhortation in Genesis to 'go forth and multiply'.

The backlash against the sect would be long and brutal. The Catholic and Lutheran powers were determined to make a terrible example of what they saw as a dangerous mob of crazed heretics.

And so began the siege of Munster. For 18 months, the city was shut off from the world, periodically attacked and then slowly starved. And yet, for most of this time, the sect clung to their faith with astonishing resilience, even as they descended into hellish suffering.

'New Jerusalem: Judgement Day 1535' is a story of religious obsession and persecution, of noble ideals trampled to dust, of slavish sexual surrender..all in the name of Christ.

It tells of one of the first violent revolts of the Reformation, which, together with the Peasants' War of 1524-25, helped to ignite 110 years of religious conflict that ended with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648.

The story holds a terrible fascination in our own time, on the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, scarred again by the return of religious wars, of hatred and slaughter, all in the name of a god or a faith.
′Nobody is more disturbed,′ said President Truman, three days after the destruction of Nagasaki in 1945, ′over the use of the atomic bombs than I am, but I was greatly disturbed over the unwarranted attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor and their murder of our prisoners of war. The only language [the Japanese] seem to understand is the one we have been using to bombard them. When you have to deal with a beast you have to treat him as a beast. It is most regrettable but nevertheless true.′ The atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki killed more than 100,000 instantly, mostly women, children and the elderly. Many hundreds of thousands more succumbed to their horrific injuries later, or slowly perished of radiation-related sickness. Yet the bombs were ′our least abhorrent choice′, American leaders claimed at the time - and still today most people believe they ended the Pacific War and saved millions of American and Japanese lives. Ham challenges this view, arguing that the bombings, when Japan was on its knees, were the culmination of a strategic Allied air war on enemy civilians that began in Germany and had till then exacted its most horrific death tolls in Dresden and Tokyo. The war in Europe may have ended but it continued in the Pacific against a regime still looking to save face. Ham describes the political manoeuvring and the scientific race to build the new atomic weapon. He also gives powerful witness to its destruction through the eyes of eighty survivors, from 12-year-olds forced to work in war factories to wives and children who faced it alone, reminding us that these two cities were full of ordinary people who suddenly, out of a clear blue summer′s sky, felt the sun fall on their heads.
Passchendaele epitomises everything that was most terrible about the Western Front. The photographs never sleep of this four-month battle, fought from July to November 1917, the worst year of the war: blackened tree stumps rising out of a field of mud, corpses of men and horses drowned in shell holes, terrified soldiers huddled in trenches awaiting the whistle. The intervening century, the most violent in human history, has not disarmed these pictures of their power to shock. At the very least they ask us, on the 100th anniversary of the battle, to see and to try to understand what happened here. Yes, we commemorate the event. Yes, we adorn our breasts with poppies. But have we seen? Have we understood? Have we dared to reason why? What happened at Passchendaele was the expression of the 'wearing-down war', the war of pure attrition at its most spectacular and ferocious. Paul Ham's Passchendaele: Requiem for Doomed Youth shows how ordinary men on both sides endured this constant state of siege, with a very real awareness that they were being gradually, deliberately, wiped out. Yet the men never broke: they went over the top, when ordered, again and again and again. And if they fell dead or wounded, they were casualties in the 'normal wastage', as the commanders described them, of attritional war. Only the soldier's friends at the front knew him as a man, with thoughts and feelings. His family back home knew him as a son, husband or brother, before he had enlisted. By the end of 1917 he was a different creature: his experiences on the Western Front were simply beyond their powers of comprehension. The book tells the story of ordinary men in the grip of a political and military power struggle that determined their fate and has foreshadowed the destiny of the world for a century. Passchendaele lays down a powerful challenge to the idea of war as an inevitable expression of the human will, and examines the culpability of governments and military commanders in a catastrophe that destroyed the best part of a generation.
This is the story of the three-year ordeal of the Sandakan prisoners of war – a barely known episode of unimaginable horror. After the fall of Singapore in February 1942, the Japanese conquerors transferred 2700 British and Australian prisoners to a jungle camp some eight miles inland of Sandakan, on the east coast of North Borneo. For decades after the Second World War, the Australian and British governments would refuse to divulge the truth of what happened here, for fear of traumatising the families of the victims and enraging the people. The prisoners were broken, beaten, worked to death, thrown into bamboo cages on the slightest pretext, starved and subjected to tortures so hideous that none survived the onslaught with their minds intact, and only an incredibly resilient few managed to withstand the pain without yielding to the hated Kempei-tai, the Japanese military police. But this was only the beginning of the nightmare. In late 1944, Allied aircraft were attacking the coastal towns of Sandakan and Jesselton. To escape the bombardment, the Japanese resolved to abandon the Sandakan prison camp and move 250 miles inland to Ranau, taking the prisoners with them as slave labour, carriers and draught horses. Their journey became known as the Sandakan Death Marches. Of the 2700 prisoners originally sent to Sandakan, only six – all of them Australians – would survive.This important and harrowing book narrates the full story of Sandakan, as told through the experiences of the participants. Paul Ham has interviewed the families of survivors and the deceased, in Australia, Britain and Borneo, and consulted thousands of court documents in an effort to piece together exactly what happened to the people who suffered and died in British North Borneo, and who was responsible.
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