Kokoda: Beyond the Legend

Author(s): Karl James (Editor)


Courage. Endurance. Mateship. Sacrifice. These values, engraved in stone at the Isurava war memorial, have become synonymous with the Australian experience during the Kokoda campaign of 1942. The story of Kokoda and of the fighting in Papua has been told and retold in books, films and documentaries, but these popular narratives rarely explore beyond this one campaign. Kokoda: Beyond the Legend critically assesses not only the campaigns in Papua and their context in the wider lengthy Pacific war, but also the actions of senior Australian, American and Japanese military leaders. Moving beyond the legend, this book addresses the central question of why Kokoda holds such a significant place in Australian military history. In this book, Karl James brings together eminent military scholars to reassess the principal battles from both Allied and Japanese perspectives, providing readers with a more complete understanding of one of the major turning points in the Second World War.


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Karl James is a Senior Historian in the Military History Section at the Australian War Memorial, Canberra and a Departmental Visitor with the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University, Canberra.

1. Kokoda: the immortal trail Karl James; Part I. Turning Points: 2. War across the world Antony Beevor; 3. Confrontation in the Coral Sea: Admiral Chester W. Nimitz's plan for a decisive battle John B. Lundstrom; 4. South Pacific turning point: Guadalcanal Richard B. Frank; Part II. Allied Perspectives: 5. Victory at all cost: Douglas MacArthur's Papuan campaign of 1942-3 James W. Zobel; 6. Command failures on the Kokoda Trail Rowan Tracey; 7. The air war over Papua: the RAAF experience Mark Johnston; 8. The Battle of Milne Bay Phillip Bradley; 9. Grinding out a victory: Australian and American commanders during the beachhead battles Peter J. Dean; Part III. Japanese Perspectives: 10. Making soldiers: training, doctrine and culture in the Imperial Japanese Army Edward J. Drea; 11. Japanese commanders in Kokoda Haruki Yoshida; 12. Against overwhelming odds? Opposing strengths on the Kokoda Trail Peter Williams; Part IV. On the Trail: 13. On the trail of an extraordinary man: the making of the architect of Kokoda Robyn Kienzle; 14. Trekking Kokoda Charlie Lynn; Part V. Legacies: 15. Papua's overlooked legacy: the AMF as a learning institution Garth Pratten; 16. Kokoda: an epic in Australian history David Horner.

General Fields

  • : 9781107189713
  • : Cambridge University Press
  • : Cambridge University Press
  • : March 2017
  • : 228mm X 152mm
  • : United Kingdom
  • : November 2016
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : English
  • : 940.542651
  • : General Adult
  • : 396
  • : 48 b/w illus. 10 maps
  • : Karl James (Editor)
  • : Hardback
  • : 1