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Australian War Myths

About The Book

From Simpson’s donkey and the Emu War to Vietnam and Ben Roberts-Smith, Australian military history is full of events that didn’t happen the way most people think they did. In his inimitable style, award-winning author Mark Dapin sets the record straight.

Australia has many stories and statues ‘lest we forget’ our military past. But from Simpson’s donkey to Ben Roberts-Smith, our history is full
of events that didn’t happen the way most people think they did.

The first Anzac Day, for example, was far from being a solemn march – it was a celebration where people dressed as cavemen and dinosaurs, among other things. And is it true that British officers callously dispatched Australian soldiers to their deaths in the Dardanelles, as we’ve been told? Did we really hate the soldiers returning from Vietnam? Were the white-feather women of the First World War fact or fiction?

In his inimitable style, award-winning author and historian Mark Dapin sets the record straight, showing that the reality was often completely different from the myth – and that in celebrating the wrong people we often overlook the real heroes.

‘With Lest, Mark Dapin transforms his trademark humour into serious history … It forces us to look again at stories we think we all know –
or should know – and reframe them with intellectual rectitude and rigour … Lest offers new perspectives on the past from one of Australia’s most interesting and provocative thinkers.’ Clare Wright

About The Author

Photograph © Mark Dapin

Mark Dapin is an acclaimed journalist, author, screenwriter and historian. He is the author of the novels King of the Cross, Spirit House and R&R. King of the Cross won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction, and Spirit House was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and shortlisted for the Age Book of the Year and the Royal Society for Literature’s Ondaatje Prize. R&R was shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award. Mark holds a doctorate in military history. His history book The Nashos’ War was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, and won the NIB People’s Choice Award and an Alex Buzo Shortlist Award. He has also written three books of true crime: Public Enemies (shortlisted for a Ned Kelly Award), Prison Break and Carnage. He worked as consultant producer on Network Seven TV show Armed and Dangerous, and as screenwriter on Stan’s Wolf Creek 2. His website is at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (July 3, 2024)
  • Length: 304 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781761108075

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Raves and Reviews

‘thoughtful, meticulous, funny, at times furious, and to veterans at least, kind … Lest is a cry for the truth ... Remarkable; a great and entertaining book on historiography.’

The Sydney Morning Herald

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