Dr James Hurst: Dissecting a legend

Posted on: Mon 24 Sep 2018

When Professor Bill Gammage from the Australian National University saw the draft for James Hurst’s first book…..  he said, ‘This has the makings of a minor Australian Classic’.  Flattering words indeed, but Bill Gammage knows quality research and writing when he sees it.

The description for James’s latest book, The Landing in the Dawn:  Dissecting a Legend ‑ The Landing at Anzac, Gallipoli, states, in part…

Even though more than 100 years have passed since the Landing at Gallipoli, and well over 1,000 books have been written on the campaign, much can be learned by returning to the primary source, the soldier.  The Landing has not previously been studied at this level of detail. This work complements Bean’s, by adding new evidence and digging deeper than Bean had the opportunity to do. It potentially re-writes the history of the Landing. This is not exclusively an Australian story – for example, one third of this battalion were born in the British Isles. This book has been described as a ‘major contribution’ that will change the way people view this historic battle, and is the most up to date work and the most comprehensive study on the subject since Bean’s major work of 1921.

James says, ‘It’s long been argued that the Allied attack turned too quickly into defence, thereby handing the initiative to the enemy. In The Landing in the Dawn, I set out to examine how and why that happened with an approach not available to Bean: I limited the focus to a single battalion over one day. That enabled a much deeper and more detailed study than previous efforts’.

In a compelling interview, James Hurst chats with Service Voices‘ team member and fellow author Sharon Cleary about how his latest book introduces a new slant on the landing at Gallipoli in 1915.

Interviewer Sharon Cleary


Hurst James, 2018, The Landing In The Dawn, Helion and Company, GB

Service Voices

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