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Sons of War : Astonishing stories of under-age Australian soldiers who fought in the Second World War - Paul Byrnes

Sons of War

Astonishing stories of under-age Australian soldiers who fought in the Second World War

By: Paul Byrnes

Paperback | 27 June 2023

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In the Second World War, thousands of Australian boys lied about their age and volunteered for a war the scale of which they could never have imagined. Like many of their fathers in the Great War, they went with their eyes wide shut: under-trained, under-equipped and under-age. Some were as young as thirteen - too young even to shave. Many did not grow old; others came back broken. A handful are still alive to tell their tales.

This extraordinary book captures the bold and untold stories of forty Australian children who fought in the deadliest war in history. Follow these boys through Libya and Palestine, Greece and Crete to the jungles of Malaya, Papua New Guinea and Borneo, fighting for their lives, their country, their mates. Many of the photographs have never been seen. Haunting images of youths in training camps and behind the lines stand beside moving portraits of old men who have not forgotten.

Sons of War
is a deeply personal military history: an homage to youthful bravery, a eulogy for those who fell, a tribute to those still standing.

About the Author

Paul Byrnes joined The Sydney Morning Herald in 1976, reporting from various corners of the world for a decade, before specialising as a feature writer and film critic. He was director of the Sydney Film Festival for ten years, until 1998. In 2007, he won the Pascall Prize, Australia's highest award for critical writing in the arts. His bestseller, The Lost Boys, about underage Anzacs in the First World War, won the Indie Award for Best Illustrated Book and was shortlisted for the overall industry award for Best Illustrated Book. Sons of War is his second book. He lives in Australia and France.

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