Little had been written about Australia's involvement in contemporary conflicts until more recently.
Listed below are a number of commended books for those interested in more recent missions involving Australia and its allies.

The views contained in these books are those of the Author based on their personal experiences.
The views expressed by the Authors may not necessarily be those of the APPVA.

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Please note that some of the items below are in Portable Document Format pdf document (requires Adobe Reader 9, or later).

Caught in the Crossfire

In 2006, while part of an un-armed UN peacekeeping team at the border junction of Lebanon, Israel and Syria, Australian Major Matina Jewell and her colleagues were caught in a full-scale war with tragic consequences. In the days that followed she and her team-mates reported hundreds of violations of the peace agreement as Israeli artillery, tank fire and aerial bombs, as well as rockets fired by Hezbollah fighters, exploded only metres away and shrapnel rained down around them. But the story doesn't end there...
Matti Jewell is the kind of soldier every country is proud to have - fearless, honourable and highly skilled. A star graduate from Duntroon by the age of only 24, she became a highly valued army commander. In the years that followed, she earned eight war medals, tracking militia leaders in the Solomons, fast-roping out of Navy helicopters and boarding smuggler ships in the Arabian Gulf, as well as serving on operations with the American Navy SEALS and Australian Special Forces. Caught in the Crossfire is a frighteningly dramatic first-hand account of what really happens in modern warfare and the high price our soldiers pay for their country.

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Navy Divers
NAVY DIVERS - Gregor Salmon
Rising out of the Second World War, the Australian clearance diver has become one of the most respected and versati le operators in the military world. Time and again they have excelled under the most dire pressure, yet we know very litt le of their heroic deeds. Until now.

Their origin goes back to the Second World War, when Hitler’s secret weapon – the magnetic mine – had Britain on her knees. Four extraordinary Aussies were among the brave naval volunteers who tackled Nazi mines on land and under water. The men who followed their path share the same brand of courage, having passed a selecti on test every bit as arduous as that set for the army’s Special Air Service. Many aspire to join their ranks, but most fail. From war-ravaged Europe to the rivers of Vietnam and the deserts of Afghanistan, Navy Divers tracks the fascinati ng evoluti on of this heroic branch.

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pdf document 164KB
Beneath the pale blue burqa

Kay Danes knows what it is like to live dangerously. In June 2001, Kay and her husband Kerry, an Australian Special Forces soldier were illegally held hostage in Laos where they endured brutal interrogations, mock executions, torture, other violations of their human rights and separation from their three children. Nine years on, Kerry has continued his Defence career, including several tours of Afghanistan, while Kay, inspired by her ordeal to help stop the suffering of others, has become a leading international humanitarian.
In November 2008, burying the haunting memories of her Laos ordeal in a plight to ease the suffering of Afghan women and children, Kay embarked on a humanitarian aid mission into war-torn Afghanistan. Beneath The Pale Blue Burqa is Kay’s incredible story of travelling the ancient silk route through Taliban strongholds in a dusty Toyota Hiace with her four fellow humanitarians, ordinary people from diverse backgrounds, determined to do whatever it took to deliver life changing opportunities and aid to people devastated by war.
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pdf document 389KB
ISBN 9781921640063

David Kilcullen is one of the world’s most influential experts on counterinsurgency and modern warfare. A senior adviser to General David Petraeus in Iraq, his vision of war powerfully influenced America’s decision to rethink its military strategy in Iraq and implement ‘the Surge’, now recognised as a dramatic success. At the heart of the book is his legendary ‘Twenty-Eight Articles’, in which he shows company leaders how to practise counterinsurgency in the real world. The other pieces in this book include Kilcullen’s pioneering study of counterinsurgency in Indonesia, his ten-point plan for ‘the Surge’ in Iraq, and his frank look at the problems in Afghanistan. He concludes with a new strategic approach to the ‘War on Terror’, arguing that counterinsurgency rather than traditional counterterrorism may offer the best approach to defeating global jihad. Counterinsurgency is a picture of modern warfare by someone who has had his boots on the ground in some of today’s worst trouble spots — including Iraq and Afghanistan — and who has been studying the topic since 1995. Filled with down-to-earth, common-sense insights, this book is indispensable for all those who are interested in making sense of our world in an age of terror.

Pure Massacre

PURE Massacre - Kevin O'Halloran
Review by Gordon Traill pdf document
On 22 April 1995, at a displaced persons’ camp in Kibeho, in full view of Australian UN peacekeepers, over 4,000 unarmed men, women and children died in a hail of bullets, grenades and machete blades at the hands of the Rwandan Patriotic Army (RPA).

Constrained by the UN peacekeeping Rules of Engagement, these Australians could only watch as atrocities they’d never imagined where carried out in front of them knowing that they could not — would not — interfere with these brutal acts.

Author Kevin “Irish” O’Halloran, a Platoon Sergeant at the time, has not only drawn on his own personal experiences, but others who served with him. It was a daunting picture.

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pdf document 415KB
Good Soldiers
ISBN 9781921640063

It was the last-chance moment of the war. In January 2007, President George W. Bush announced a new strategy for Iraq. It became known as ‘the surge’. ‘Many listening tonight will ask why this effort will succeed when previous operations to secure Baghdad did not. Well, here are the differences’, he told a sceptical nation. Among those listening were the young, optimistic army infantry soldiers of 2-16, the battalion nicknamed the Rangers. About to head to a vicious area of Baghdad, they decided the difference would be them. Fifteen months later, the soldiers returned home forever changed.
What is the true story of the surge? And was it really a success? Those are the questions that the Pulitzer Prize-winning Washington Post reporter David Finkel grapples with in his remarkable report from the front lines. He was with Battalion 2-16 in Baghdad almost every gruelling step of the way.
The Good Soldiers is an unforgettable work of reportage telling the story of the heroes and the ruined. Finkel has produced an eternal tale — not just of the Iraq War, but of all wars, for all time.

The Coast Watchers

Willingly into the Fray - Edited by Catherine McCullagh
The role of the Army Nursing Officer is unique. They serve close to the fighting, often in harm’s way and in extreme conditions. Willingly into the Fray, published in conjunction with the Australian Army History Unit, uncovers what it’s really like to be an Army Nurse from the early days of our first nurse Lady Superintendent ‘Nellie’ Gould in 1899 in the Boer War through to subsequent conflicts including World Wars I and II, Korea, Malaya, Vietnam right up to the current conflict in Iraq. These are ordinary Australians who are taken far from the comfort zones of their normal lives. What they experience abroad is often a life-changing experience.

This book is a collection of first-hand accounts from sixtyfive Australian male and female nurses. Many of the stories are told for the first time, particularly those of the more recent campaigns such as the second Gulf War. Their stories are sometimes confronting but always showcase the great Aussie spirit.
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pdf document 477KB
Combat Medic

COMBAT MEDIC - Terry Pickard
Review by Gordon Traill
Combat Medic is a personal account of one Australian soldier who found himself at the centre of events that shocked the world, and the personal toll that he paid.

On the 22nd of April 1995 more than 4,000 Rwandans were massacred and thousands more injured in a place called Kibeho. No one who walked away from that day was ever the same again. Author Terry Pickard, a seasoned soldier and medic, was one of a 32-strong force of Australian UN peacekeepers in Kibeho on that terrible Saturday. The massacre continues to haunt him and has condemned Terry to more than a decade of recurring nightmares and debilitating flashbacks.
Combat Medic details the lead up to Kibeho, the massacre and Terry’s long struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in an honest, open and emotional account of this dark day in history.

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Aussie Soldier

Aussie SOLDIER - Danny Neave
A revealing insight into a very challenging human experience.

Spanning a long history of wars, battles, and peacekeeping missions around the world, Aussie Soldier is a collection of anecdotes of life in military uniform.

In a flood of heart-warming, confronting and humorous stories, it gathers ever-before-published diary extracts and personal perspectives that shed light on the Australian soldier’s experience.

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Shooting at the Moon book cover
ISBN : 0-646-19395-3

‘Shooting at the Moon’ documents the stories of Peacekeepers in Cambodia in the lead up to and following the 1993 elections.

The book profiles a number of stories of Australian police and ADF personnel involved in the mission.

The back of the book includes a list of all those who served in Cambodia.

As there are still some copies of this book available for sale the APPVA would like to ensure that the Cambodian peacekeepers know how to obtain this publication.

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Soldiers Tales

SOLDIERS' Tales - Danny Neave


Soldiers’ Tales is a treasure trove of some of the most personal events and insights told by Australian soldiers in their own words. From World War I to the modern day conflicts, their stories are sometimes touching, often funny but always entertaining.

Soldiers’ Tales is a wonderful tribute to the Aussie Digger. A collection of stories that range from heart-wrenching accounts of heroism and courage to entertaining adventures and pranks.

With its stylish design and easy reading Soldiers’ Tales is the perfect gift book for all ages.

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Pogo image

A Pogo's Perspective - Greg Smith
Greg Smith served as the Orderly Room Corporal in A Sqn 3 Cav Regt in VietNam 1970/71. He walks the reader through his call-up, training and discipline. He then details his role and experiences as a Pogo, which may be an eyeopener for some.
For 35 years he worried about acceptance by his mates because of his different role. He writes of his lack of support and understanding on his return to a hostile Australia. With absolute honesty, he details his emotional decline and the subsequent recognition / diagnosis of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Finally he shares the treatment that has benefitted him and that what is available to all veterans.

Greg is very generously donating a significant portion of the proceeds from each book to the APPVA.

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A Pogo's Perspective

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Pure Massacre

New Zealand’s Vietnam War provides a comprehensive and authoritative account of New Zealand’s involvement in the Vietnam War, one that will remain the standard reference work on the subject for decades.

This work focuses on what New Zealand did in South Vietnam, as the reasons for this country’s involvement and opposition to it have already been covered in book form. It traces in detail the operations carried out by New Zealand forces in Vietnam and seeks to illuminate the experience of New Zealand soldiers fighting in a guerrilla war.
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pdf document 285KB

ISBN : 0732282306

18 HOURS - Sandra Lee
18 Hours is the story of Martin "Jock" Wallace, and WO2 Clint, both members of the SAS.

Both men were part of the 80 member team led by the U.S. 10th Mountain Division during Operation Anaconda. This operation ended up being one of the fiercest battles high in the mountains of Afghanistan against the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

The participation of the Australian SAS in the battle proved invaluable and resulted in Jock being awarded the Medal of Gallantry.

This book is available through most book stores
Looking Forward Looking Back
ISBN 9781921640063

Looking Forward Looking Back - Christopher Jobson
Many of the Australian Army’s customs and traditions are derived from the battle tactics and fighting attire of old. Some of the drill movements seen on today’s parade ground, were originally practiced by soldiers in battle. Various elements of the Aussie soldier’s uniform had practical uses in combat and some customs retain their original use as they did hundreds of years ago. While the ever-changing modern military environment means that soldiers continue to look forward, looking back to the Australian Army’s customs and traditions serves as a constant and reassuring reminder of past victories and how far we have travelled.

Looking Forward, Looking Back was written by Christopher Jobson, a Vietnam Veteran who discharged after 30 years of professional soldiering. His fascinating compilation of customs and traditions is complimented with a wonderful array of photographs and illustrations.

ISBN 978 1 74051 372 2

Modern Military Heroes - Narelle Biedermann
Modern Military Heroes is a history of Australian Defence Force members who have shown extraordinary acts of selfless courage in dangerous circumstances.

Narelle Biedermann interviewed thirteen members of the Australian Defence Force who have been awarded medals in the last twenty-five years. Narelle will share how these Australians performed feats of remarkable courage and bravery in military zones including in Rwanda, the Blackhawk disaster, East Timor, Afghanistan and the Gulf War. The medals awarded to these soldiers include the Medal of Gallantry, the Star of Courage and the Bravery Medal.

Biedermann illustrates this history with background factual data and personal stories from those men and women who detail individual accounts of their bravery.

Forged by War book cover
ISBN : 0-522-85171-1

FORGED BY WAR - Gina Lennox
In Forged By War, Australian veterans and their families talk about the experience of war and how it has changed their lives. These unvarnished first-hand accounts go to the concrete detail of military action and its personal consequences.

Sometimes the reader is in lockstep with a soldier on patrol, watching as a land mine explodes, spraying shrapnel and killing troops, or a local militiaman points a missile launcher at Australian peacekeepers.

At other times, the reader is inside a returned veteran's head, feeling their edgy tension, their superfluous adrenalin, their need to control their environment, even at home.
Underpinning it all is the question: where does family fit in a soldier's life?

This book is available through most book stores
The Long Road to Rwanda
This story takes you on a journey through 16 years of service with the Royal Australian Infantry; everything that you read actually happened:

The SAS, the AATPT PNGDF and Rwanda – where the massacre of over 4,000 took place in 1995. Many questions are answered and others still remain unclear, such as the truth behind the atrocities of Bougainville, handed out by the hand of the PNG military.

The community in general will be shocked, motivated and excited. You are provided with a complete picture; you will become acquainted with the soldiers of the Royal Australian Infantry, the Grunts, the salt of the earth, drawn into the very day-to-day life of the infantry soldier.
This book is no longer available.