Palestine Diaries

The third instalment in Jonathan King’s acclaimed World War 1 centennial trilogy. ‘In the history of the world there never was a greater victory than that which was achieved in Palestine.’ — Prime Minister Billy Hughes addressing the Australian Parliament in 1919. Culminating with the cavalry charge at Beersheba on 31 October 1917, Palestine Diaries is the story of Australia’s Light Horsemen of World War I, told in their own brutally honest words — day by day, battle after bloody battle. One hundred years after that now-legendary battle — widely considered the last great cavalry charge — Dr. Jonathan King argues that the breathtaking achievement of the 4th Light Horse Brigade should become the cornerstone of our national identity. The soldiers in these pages were the first to achieve incredible victories for their new nation — ahead of the Western Front, and unlike the defeats of Gallipoli. These young Australians helped demolish the centuries-old Ottoman Empire by driving the Turks from the strategic Suez Canal across the Sinai, and up through Palestine, Jordan, and Syria to be first into the enemy stronghold of Damascus — a victory that would not only change the course of the war, but would also plant the seeds of the modern Middle Eastern conflicts. Published together here, many for the first time, are the diaries, letters, and photos of those brave young men, whose service and sacrifice helped shape a nation.