Kokoda is not the kind of book I'd ordinarily pick out at a book shop, but I selected this from my housemate's bookshelf one day when I was short of something to read. I'm so glad I did. This is no meagre manuscript, and I have to admit I struggled up until half way through the book; up until that point it was mainly focused on (I will sound ignorant when I summarise this) the ins and outs of the history of World War II, the formations of various army units and its commanders, and so forth. I'll be honest, there was a fair bit of skim reading through this portion.

The second half of the book was a different story; I couldn't put the book down. Peter Fitzsimons' account is historically accurate yet written as a descriptive narrative. I was blown away with the stories captured in this book. It wouldn't do any justice for me to try and recount those stories here, but I will say that my understanding, and I guess you could say, my "informed compassion" before having read this book, was extremely limited. I would recommend this book to all Australians... even if you have to persevere through the "admin" at the beginning, it's worth the journey for the understanding you'll gain.

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