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- Publisher: Vintage (Australia)
- Format: Paperback | 400 pages
- Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 24mm | 281g
- Publication date: 1 July 2012
- Publication City/Country: North Sydney
- ISBN 10: 1742755739
- ISBN 13: 9781742755731
- Sales rank: 210,397
This is the true story of three Australian soldiers, the Searle brothers. One brother was killed at Gallipoli, another on the Western Front. One came home a decorated hero. Viv, a gifted poet who was planning to be a clergyman before the war, became a deadly efficient sniper. Ray shot himself and was charged with desertion. Ned was a true Australian larrikin, up for anything, and the black sheep of the family. The Searle boys had to crack hardy, as they fought in one grueling campaign after another - from the first wave of the Gallipoli landings to Lone Pine, from Ypres to Messines and Hill 60 in Flanders, to bloody Somme battles at Mouquet Farm, Bullecourt, and Hamel, with their brothers and mates falling all around them. Back home in an Australian country town, their mother, father, sisters, and remaining brother also had to crack hardy, as the bad news from the front just kept coming and coming. Told from the heart by the Searle brothers' great-nephew, award-winning author Stephen Dando-Collins using the letters and journals of the Searle brothers and remembrances of other family members, Crack Hardy is a compelling book that defines Australia and Australians during the making of our nation on the far-flung battlefields of the First World War.
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Stephen Dando-Collins is the author of the acclaimed "Captain Bligh's Other Mutiny" and a successful series of popular histories about the legions of ancient Rome published in the US, UK, and Australia: "Caesar's Legion," "Nero's Killing Machine," and "Cleopatra's Kidnappers." "Pasteur's Gambit" was shortlisted for the science prize in the Victorian Premier's Literary Awards and won the Queensland Premier's Science Award. "Crack Hardy" is a deeply personal, exhilarating, and moving story for Stephen to share.
"Crack Hardy" is an emotional story because it tells of a tragedy from which our country is only now beginning to recover. It is an epic. To be memorable, an epic needs powerful writing, and here it is. The book could have been so much less in the hands of someone less skilled. You will be greatly rewarded by reading this book. - Bill Gammage Wellington once said 'Next to a battle lost, the greatest misery is a battle won.' "Crack Hardy" is a beautifully scripted expose of one family's experience of war. The intimacy and accuracy of the Searle brothers' story does not glamorize conflict but poignantly illustrates the actions men take and the emotions they feel when confronted with the brutal circumstances of combat. Stephen Dando-Collins can rest assured that not only do the spirits, memories and history of his great uncles live through this tale, but also those of their comrades in arms and the families that loved them. Like "Facey's A Fortunate Life," this book deserves to be required reading as part of the Australian history school curriculum. - Major General Michael Jeffery AC AO (Mil) CVO MC (Retd) Dando-Collins adroitly interweaves a compelling family history with the broader canvas of the Anzacs... "Crack Hardy" is a fine and important book. - "The Sydney Morning Herald" It's entertaining stuff... "Crack Hardy" presents the original Anzacs as men their ancestors can admire and understand. - The Australian Stephen Dando-Collins skilfully braids together the Searle brothers' story and that of Australia in the Great War, balancing the family's experience and tragedy against the broader canvas of a nation's war. - Dr Peter Stanley The narrative is copiously and meticulously documented, drawing throughout on a cache of family diaries, letters and photographs. Moreover, Dando-Collins pitches the story adeptly; the brother's travails are recounted in a way which is not too sentimental, not unduly melodramatic, rarely overwritten -" The Canberra Times" This well-rese