Bad Characters

Bad Characters Interesting book and good to know that the soldiers were not people that wanted to work with the system and acted like they were civilian soldiers as they were for the duration of the war volunteers The British wanted to have power over them with discipline that included execution, but the Defence Act in Australia meant that could not happen Many soldiers were defaulters, gambled, went Absent without leave until being caught and the usual rowdy Australians who caught VD from extracurricular activities The soldiers in the British view did not fit the mold for military life as they did not always salute the commanding officers A great read to see another side of what characters the soldiers were and for everyone to read. Australians Have Celebrated The Anzacs For Nearly A Century But What Do We Really Know Of What War Did To Them Charles Bean, Historian Of The Citizen Soldiers Of The Australian Imperial Force, Wrote That Its History Spanned The Good And The Bad But So Far Australians Have Only Looked At The Good Leading War Historian Peter Stanley Reveals The Citizen Soldiers The Army Regarded As Its Bad Characters These Were Men Who Went Absent And Deserted, Caught Or Concealed VD, Got Drunk And Fought Their Comrades, Who Stole, Malingered, Behaved Insolently Toward Officers Or Committed Serious Offences, Including Rape And Murder This Frank History The First Book On The AIF S Indiscipline Shows That It Became One Of The War S Most Effective Fighting Forces In Spite Of Its Record For Military Misbehaviour Stanley Exposes, With A Wealth Of Examples Drawn From Court Martial Files And Soldiers Letters, How The War Turned Some Men Into Criminals, But Also How Bad Characters Made The AIF The Superb Force It Was A great book about the extraordinary skill of Australian soldiers in deserting, whoring, lying, cheating, stealing, gambling, raping, murdering and answering back I was struck by the statistic that the Australians were just one tenth of the British Expeditionary Forces, but made up half of all deserters, and the vast majority spent at least some time suffering the effects of VD As Stanley points out, they were proud to be the only BEF members who were solely volunteers and their traditions as unionists, workers and property owners meant they were peculiarly resistant, and very effective at it, yet staunch when they had to be Awesome fighters, terrible soldiers, heroes one minute, disgraces the next Although Stanley spends no time theorising or contemplating masculinity, or nationalism or other big tropes, I think he did a good job including the perspectives of gay men, and of the women of Britain and France who lived alongside the soldiers for the duration I appreciated his honest probing of the long silences in records about atrocities and breaches In exposing these stories Stanley doesn t really challenge the work of Bean in shaping the Anzac legend, but the stories he presents show these were living, breathing people under extreme stress, and suffering from all forms of human frailty This is the kind of complicated and three dimensional history that we should be reading as we lead up to the centenary of Anzac. This is one of those books that will enlighten the reader as it has been well researched and well written Australia has developed a great mythology surrounding the Anzacs however the fact remains that the Australian Imperial Force was made up of men from all types of backgrounds While almost everyone did their duty for King, Country and Empire there were some who were as the author puts it bad characters Peter Stanley has exposed a darker side to the AIF but none the less one that needed to be written This book brings no shame to the Anzacs it just shows what war did to them. A typical Peter Stanley book Well written and expertly researched The book provides a very welcome balance to the unabridged and excessive adulation given to our servicemen By providing this balance, Stanley provides a much realistic portrayal of our citizen soldiers and therefore we can better assess their contribution to our nation.I perhaps would have preferred a thematic approach rather than a chronological approach to examining the crimes and misbehaviours of the soliders, but as Stanley points out at the beginning of the book a decision had to be made and he made it.A few case studies in a little depth would have provided a little flavour to an otherwise excellent book. Goes over some previous well written areas especially the Cairo riots,and does attempt at times to sensationalise Does give some new perspectives on some of the areas Overall it is reasonable but patchy on the subjects concerned I understand it is rebuffing the notion that Australian forces were saints and heroes and had as many bad apples as other forces, it s just that I never had this notion to start with Some of the reasoning therefore I find self serving and unnecessary. Bad Characters Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Australian Imperial Force by Peter Stanley is a 2010 non fiction book that does what it says on the tin Stanley trawled through the AIF court martial files and basically put together this book about the various miscreants of the AIF This is interesting on its own and also useful as a reference book for people studying the era.The AIF was, of course, famously ill disciplined they viewed the army as a job, which meant they expected to agitate for pay and conditions, be informed, and challenge the bosses They didn t think the army had a right to control what they did in their leisure hours, or to waste their time with pointless ritual or subservience They expected to get into the trenches and do their job, and then have a good time afterwards Sensible officers behaved like bosses, and consulted their men Pommy officers were treated with round contempt The incidences of AWL and absenteeism were astronomically high compared to other forces General Haig found this so galling he constantly pressured the Australian Government to allow Australian soldiers to be executed, but for political reasons this was never agreed Many of the stories relate to discipline, pranks, industrial action and the like that give a sense of what the culture of the AIF was like Some of the stories are really touching the man who hesitated to enlist because he was gay and worried about the possible consequences of that or tragic and disturbing the man who returned home and in a moment of probable PTSD murdered his sister Stanley approaches this book with a to know all is to forgive all attitude, which allows him to tell each story engagingly and without moralising There was a lot that worked for me in Bad Characters , both as a history source, and as an engaging read about the life and times of the men of the AIF One big thing that didn t work was that the book was structured by year, not by type of crime Since the categories of crimes committed each year were not mutually exclusive, this was pretty confusing and didn t really work for me It might have worked better if I d read the book cover to cover, but I was using it as a reference, which meant I jumped around a bit Bad Characters Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Australian Imperial Force won the Prime Minister s prize for Australian History in 2010 11, so if you don t believe me that it s worth a read, believe her Bad Characters Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Australian Imperial Force by Peter Stanley is a 2010 non fiction book that does what it says on the tin Stanley trawled through the AIF court martial files and basically put together this book about the various miscreants of the AIF This is interesting on its own and also useful as a reference book for people studying the era.The AIF was, of course, famously ill disciplined they viewed the army as a job, which meant they expected to agitate for pay and conditions, be informed, and challenge the bosses They didn t think the army had a right to control what they did in their leisure hours, or to waste their time with pointless ritual or subservience They expected to get into the trenches and do their job, and then have a good time afterwards Sensible officers behaved like bosses, and consulted their men Pommy officers were treated with round contempt The incidences of AWL and absenteeism were astronomically high compared to other forces General Haig found this so galling he constantly pressured the Australian Government to allow Australian soldiers to be executed, but for political reasons this was never agreed Many of the stories relate to discipline, pranks, industrial action and the like that give a sense of what the culture of the AIF was like Some of the stories are really touching the man who hesitated to enlist because he was gay and worried about the possible consequences of that or tragic and disturbing the man who returned home and in a moment of probable PTSD murdered his sister Stanley approaches this book with a to know all is to forgive all attitude, which allows him to tell each story engagingly and without moralising There was a lot that worked for me in Bad Characters , both as a history source, and as an engaging read about the life and times of the men of the AIF One big thing that didn t work was that the book was structured by year, not by type of crime Since the categories of crimes committed each year were not mutually exclusive, this was pretty confusing and didn t really work for me It might have worked better if I d read the book cover to cover, but I was using it as a reference, which meant I jumped around a bit Bad Characters Sex, Crime, Mutiny and Murder in the Australian Imperial Force won the Prime Minister s prize for Australian History in 2010 11, so if you don t believe me that it s worth a read, believe her

Peter Stanley is a leading military historian and author A Stout Pair of Boots is based on his research on Australia s battlefields in many parts of the world Formerly Principal Historian at the Australian War Memorial, he is now Director of the Centre for Historical Research at the National Museum of Australia.

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  • Paperback
  • 288 pages
  • Bad Characters
  • Peter Stanley
  • English
  • 02 June 2019
  • 9781741964806

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