Thursday, February 17, 2011

BOOK REVIEW: An Awkward Truth

Title: An Awkward Truth

Author: Peter Grose

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

RRP: $24.99

ISBN: 9781742376073

Release Date: February 2011

Pages: 276


The compelling and very human story of the first foreign assault on Australian soil since settlement - the attack on Darwin by the Japanese in February, 1942.


'Grose's compassionate, honest and vivid account ... deserves to be widely read.'-Sun-Herald

The bombing of Darwin on 19 February 1942 is the battle Australia tries to forget. Although there was much to be proud of that day - courage, mateship, determination and improvisation - the dark side of the story lingers: looting, desertion and a calamitous failure of Australian leadership.

The Japanese struck with the same carrier-borne force that devastated Pearl Harbor only ten weeks earlier. There was a difference: they dropped more bombs on Darwin, killed more civilians in Darwin, and sank more ships in Darwin than in Pearl Harbor. It remains the single deadliest event in Australian history. Yet the story has remained in the shadows.

Absorbing, spirited and fast-paced, An Awkward Truth is a compelling and revealing story of the day war first came to Australia, and of the under-armed and unprepared soldiers and civilians who faced their toughest test on home soil.


Winner, Chief Minister's Northern Territory History Book Award, 2010

About Peter Grose

Peter Grose is a former publisher at Secker + Warburg, founder of Curtis Brown Australia, and was until recently the chairman of ACP (UK).He is the author of A Very Rude Awakening published by Allen + Unwin in 2007.


The Japanese attack on Darwin in 1942 is not a subject that many Australian’s in today’s society have much knowledge of. While many people seem to know about the bombing of Pearl Harbor in the US, we as a nation don’t seem to have much in the way of a national day of remembrance for those killed in an event only ten weeks after Pearl Harbor.

Awkward Truth is an extremely well written account of the horrific attempted invasion of Australia by the Japanese, and one which should be mandatory reading as part of history in all Australian schools. Grose details the events, such as the bombing of three hospitals, communication centres, Government House and many businesses and the airfields.

Behind the tragic invasion there was also a failure of Government co-ordination and leadership, which lead to the abandonment of the town and looting. The book also details how many civilians joined the soldiers to defend their country from the Japanese invaders.

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