William Olson fought with the Australian and American armies against the advancing Japanese Imperial army in New Guinea in World War 11. Over more than three years from 1942 to 1945 he wrote 329 letters to his sweetheart, then wife, Ruth, describing the war with his professional reporter's eye. All 329 letters are now preserved in the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. The Years Away is an edited version, telling the story of a man, like so many others, changed forever by war. A sharp reminder from his writing is the waste of war and how many of the best men and women of his generation were destroyed fighting the Japanese. There are few live heroes in any war so those who return are survivors trying to pick up their peacetime lives the best way they can. Because they suppress the horrors, many rarely discuss what they saw and experienced. William Olson survived the War and went on to become a distinguished journalist and writer. He died in 1975 aged 52. Ruth, who was the inspiration for the letters, passed away in 2007 aged 81.