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Book Review - Children of The Anzacs

By: L.E. Pembroke (472/35713)
Publisher: Retrospect ISBN: 978-0-64647291-1

In 1939, Australia was an insular and unsophisticated sophisticated society standing on the brink of what was to become the most tumultuous decade in its history.

Sydney was a microcosm of the nation. Its people knew little of the rest of the world. Life was ordered, uncomplicated and unhurried, Asians were only of concern as representing the vague threat of the 'Yellow Peril".

Pearl Harbour, 7 December 1941 and its consequences dramatically changed attitudes and ways of life. The armed forces went north to stem the threatening invasion. Tens of thousands of allied servicemen (mostly Americans) flooded into cities on the eastern seaboard. Conscription was introduced. Women replaced men in factories and on the land; they drove buses, trams, trucks and taxis. Petrol, food and clothes rationing came into force.

More fundamentally, cracks began to appear in the Victorian era social mores, which underpinned society as many lonely women succumbed to the charms (and dollars) of the yanks.

Children of the Anzacs give the reader the authentic taste, smell and feel of Sydney during these turbulent times and demonstrates how Australian society evolved, with some difficulty but great optimism, into the golden years of the 1950s.

October 2007

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