With Alec Campbell's death, a door has closed to which no one has the key. Australia has lost the last direct link to one of the nation's most significant events and to a breed of Australians who have become larger than life - legends in our national psyche. He was not at Gallipoli long, though he dodged his share of bullets, saw his mates get shot, and suffered fever and sickness, as did so many of his peers.
But this book is not just an account of Gallipoli; it’s a snapshot of a century of Australian history seen through the life of one man. While it started out as the story of a Gallipoli veteran, it became the tale of an 'Aussie battler' who lived an extraordinary life - a life that reflected the growth of a nation, from horse and buggy to tense global village. Even without Gallipoli, his story - full of adventure and idealism, struggle and determination – is a yarn worth telling. But as the last Anzac, Alec became a symbol for something much greater; as the sole survivor of an estimated million soldiers who fought on all sides in the Gallipoli campaign, he became 'one man in a million'.
©2003 Jonathan King (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
'Gallipoli's Last Man Standing' ought be the sub-title, not the main title, of this book. While Alec's life is an interesting story (perhaps more accurately described as just an 'Ordinary Life', and not disrespectfully so), it is a shame that a marketer somewhere has co-opted the Gallipoli and Anzac branding for this publication. This is barely a story about Gallipoli.
The author excessively flatters his veteran subject, which is unnecessary and unfortunate, since the power of the story of Gallipoli and the first Anzacs is indeed just how ordinary (and therefore relatable) these volunteers actually were in the face of extraordinary circumstances.
I was surprised to see how bare Audible's selection was on the topic of Gallipoli (and the original Anzacs), especially considering the approaching cetenary of Anzac Day. This was one of the few titles available, and I bought it, in part, to demonstrate demand for more titles on this topic. Although the popularist narratives of Peter FitzSimons are readily available, they are not professional histories. I will be trying Roland Perry's 'Monash' next, but remain in eager anticipation of more Gallipoli titles becoming available, perhaps Les Carlyon's definitive account?
I mistook the book for a story about the battle of Gallipoli.
I'm just a big fan of Peter Byrne
It was a story abut a great man, who spend most of his life, improving the life of the working class.
No doubt that Alec Campbell was a great man. But the battle of Gallipoli was a tiny bit of his life. Maybe not in his mind, but at least in time spend there. So the front cover of the book, is kind of misleading, since there where other things in his life, that took a great deal of his life. The Unions and the sailing. I was searching for a book about the battle of Gallipoli and about the daily life of the ANZAC troops. I just got the wrong book.
"Bait and Switch"
This story is not about Gallipoli per se, but a biography of one of the soldiers who fought in that campaign. I was expecting a more thorough description of the campaign, not a detailed biography.
Nothing, but a more appropriate title might be: "Gallipoli: One Soldier's Story."
I suppose he did, but that does not mitigate the fact that the book is misrepresented.
Should be removed from available selections. Not accurately marketed.
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