With the Second Division, Tony Simpson

A Bloody Road Home: World War Two and New Zealand’s Heroic Second Division
Christopher Pugsley
Penguin, $70.00
ISBN 9780143571896

It might seem strange that we have had to wait seven decades from the conclusion of WWII for a comprehensive history of record of the New Zealand Second Division in that conflict, and that it owes its very existence to an anonymous benefactor who was prepared to underwrite its production. But, on reflection, it is not as strange as it might appear. That particular experience of war was so overwhelming that it really had to wait for its immediate generation to pass before anything like an objective account could be attempted. In the meantime, we have had to make do with the official histories of units and campaigns – a mixed lot to say the least – and accounts of particular affairs and military incidents which have caught the imagination of a wide range of writers, some of whom were themselves participants. Notwithstanding its unavoidable length – 555 pages of narrative – this book has been worth the wait and has found the best possible author of its generation.

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