I was young then. I remember the landing on the beach and the days of my time on the peninsula and returning home from the war, the past and the present coming together over the years. I remember the beauty of the ugly place.
Michael is a teenager off on an adventure, having joined up to keep his beloved brother Dan company. Their friends Knobby, Mack and Hughie are there too, and together they land at Gallipoli where they quickly realise that this campaign is like nothing they could have imagined.
From Australian screenwriter Christopher Lee, Seasons of War is a slim volume recounting one fictional soldier’s Gallipoli campaign. At the same time, it covers the major events of the whole campaign including insights into the workings of the British command (particularly General Hamilton), the tactics and statistics of all the major battles and the actions of the Turkish enemy. Michael’s story, though, is central, and as a first person narrator he is blunt about the horror of his experience, and of what goes on around him.
In amongst the great number of books released to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign, Seasons of War could easily be missed because it is a small book with an understated, though moving, cover and it is not a comfortable read. But that’s the point. We need stories of war which paint the horror and the waste explicitly so that we understand as nearly as possible what happened.
Seasons of War, by Christopher Lee
Viking, an imprint of Penguin, 2015
Available from good bookstores and online.