Tuesday, October 09, 2012
Found: one battlefield and a new book!
It’s not often I have real news here on the blog nor, for that matter, do I often post anything at all here. But all that is about to change Legion of Fans (LOF) – starting right now.
I have a new non-fiction book out in Australia!
It’s called the Lost Battlefield of Kokoda and I co-wrote it with a top bloke and ex Australian Army Commando named Brian Freeman. My name’s not on the book, but I did write it, honest.
The Lost Battlefield, which was released in Australia while I was in Zimbabwe a couple of weeks ago, is the story of how the people of the tiny village of Alola on the Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea revealed a secret to Brian that had been protected by generation after generation for seventy years.
Brian had been escorting treks on the trail (or track as people call it these days) for many years and in that time had built up a rapport with a family in Alola. Such was their respect for them that one day his friend Kila Eleve revealed the location of a major battlefield that had been lost in time since 1942.
Like a modern day Indiana Jones Brian and his escorts hacked their way through the jungle to come across an amazing complex of more than 300 Japanese foxholes that had been taken by the Australians in the tumultuous battle of Eora Creek.
Contemporary maps and history books since had placed most of the fighting close to the Eora Creek river crossing on the Kokoda Trail. What Brian discovered, however, with the help of the people of Alola and team of archaeologists, was that the main battle took place high up in the hills above the river crossing, much further away than the original maps indicated.
The lost battlefield was on traditional hunting lands of the people of Alola and, as such, was inaccessible to tourists or historians until the locals took a big leap of faith and showed it to Brian.
Brian and his friend the high profile Aussie businessman David Moffat got together to set up a trust that will hopefully see the battlefield enshrined as a national monument, and allow the people of Alola to benefit from limited access to it in the future.
For the non-Aussies out there, the Kokoda campaign has momentous historical and emotional significance to many Australians. It’s where the seemingly unstoppable Japanese military advance was finally checked, in 1942. In fact, as we point out in the book, the battle of Eora Creek, on the site of the ‘lost battlefield’ was the first time in the war that Japanese soldiers were seen to throw down their weapons and run away.
I had a great time drinking with Brian... err, I mean researching and writing this amazing story, and I hope you like it. If not, then direct your negative feedback to Brian, as his name’s on the cover, not mine.