Reviewed by Donald Lawie
Phillip Bradley’s book is redolent with pride in the Australian Digger and a passion to reveal the Diggers’ story of New Guinea in World War Two. Hell’s Battlefield details the complete saga of Australia’s involvement against Japan in the Australian Territories of Papua and New Guinea from the bombing of Rabaul in January 1942 to the last spluttering offensives in Bougainville in August 1945. Verbatim quotes from interviews with participants enliven the crisp recitation of battles, large and small, won and lost. Well-placed strip maps throughout the book make the actions easy to follow, and there is a rather sparse overview of the war to place the New Guinea battles in context. Sixteen pages of well-chosen photographs include modern colour shots taken by the author which clearly illustrate the topography of areas such as Shaggy Ridge.