My Other Sister has hinted that her husband would like a good book about Gallipoli for a present for Christmas. He’s a fairly serious sort of bloke who likes a read that he can get his teeth into, and a book in which every sentence is worth reading. But he’s not an academic.
Any suggestions? Perhaps he’d like a book about some other amphibious operation, such as Antony Beevor’s D-Day. Same thing, right?
One Square Mile of Hell is a very good piece on Tarawa and lessons from it as a learning amphibious assault prior to D-day.
I’m a fan of Max Hastings as a war historian author but he hasn’t covered the Gallipoli campaign. I found his Catastrophe: Europe Goes to War 1914 very good if it’s the Great War that’s of interest rather than amphibious warfare. He’s written extensively on WW2 as well. (This is not the author of world war Z. That is a different Max Hastings.)
I suspect that my brother-in-law is probably interested in the Australian angle. It’s just that my experience of Christmas is that it has always been about getting gifts that you don’t really want from people who don’t understand or care about your interests.
There are quite a lot of books about Gallipoli, and I don’t know a lot about it. This one is about the sites of the various sub-battles that made up the campaign:
Walking Gallipoli, Stephen Chambers, Pen & Sword Military, 2017.
I have a theory about buying presents for people that has served me well:
The best present is something the recipient didn’t know existed and they’re delighted to have. That’s really hard to achieve, and is only possible if you know them well, and understand their interests well.
For most people, I can’t achieve that, so I buy them something that I know about, and I’m sure is good, because I can hope that they’ll appreciate its quality. This means I tend to buy books and chocolate, because they’re things where I can be sure of the quality of the goods.
When buying books, I try to buy things that are tangentially related to their interests. They may well already have books that are central to their interest. So my cousin who is a country & western singer-songwriter gets books of good poetry, in the hope they’ll give her ideas. I also try to buy newly published books, to reduce the odds of duplication.
I wish I could convey a complete lack of obligation along with any gifts I give people. If not keeping it would make them happier than keeping it, I’d rather they give it away/donate it to a charity shop. I also wish that people would tell me if they would like to avoid receiving the same gift again!
Next year, give him another copy of The Malay Archipelago, by Alfred Russell Wallace. He’ll open the wrapping paper, his expression will turn confused and disappointed, as he begins to wonder why you’d give him the exact same present two years in a row…
Then, he’ll actually try to open the book, and discover that you’ve painstakingly glued all the pages together, cut out a bottle-shaped hole in the middle of the now-solid block of pages, and hidden a bottle of kumquat rum inside the book.
That’s 1) a gift you made yourself, which also includes 2) a consumable, i.e. booze. Perfect solution!
PS: In the interests of not entirely derailing this thread from the topic of Gallipoli, you might wish to consider The Anzac Legend: A Graphic History by David A. Dye; it’s a hybrid of a graphic novel and a history book, in the sense that it’s heavily illustrated in a gritty comic book style, and it’s received some glowing reviews about its level of detail and historical accuracy, and whatnot.