Sunday, March 30, 2014
Gallipoli horror detailed through brothers' tales:John Rainford's review of Brothers Part One:Gallipoli 1915
Brothers Part One: Gallipoli 1915
By John Tognolini
163pp $20 paperback, $5 ebook
In the Junius Pamphlet, composed while she was in prison in 1915, Polish-born revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg wrote on the horror of World War I: “The flower of our mature and youthful strength, hundreds of thousands of whom were socialistically schooled in England, France, Belgium, Germany, and Russia, the product of decades of educational and agitational training, and other hundreds of thousands who could be won for socialism tomorrow, fall and moulder on the miserable battlefields.”
John Tognolini's book also takes us back to the year 1915 and the carnage at Gallipoli.
In December 1914, Grand Duke Nicholas, nephew of Tsar Alexander II and commander-in-chief of the Russian armed forces, advised the Allies that Russia’s inability to equip its troops meant that it was incapable of carrying out any further offensive actions.
Under pressure from Turkey in the Caucasus, the Grand Duke appealed to Britain for assistance. He made the helpful suggestion that they could distract Turkey with an engagement in the eastern Mediterranean.
British Secretary of State for War Lord Kitchener and first Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill rather approved of the idea, which was put into effect in the months that followed in Gallipoli.
Tognolini had two uncles at Gallipoli and he melds their story into the experience of many at
Gallipoli by using the fictional style of a novel to convey the horror of war.
We learn some things that we won find in conventional histories not just the smell of dead and rotting bodies but the distinctive smell of bodies from opposing sides.
The author sums up the campaign in one telling sentence: “Gallipoli has been nothing but bullshit and bollocks.”
This book is a welcome antidote to the nationalist and jingoistic approach taken by today’s major political parties who seek reflected glory in a past of which they seem to have little understanding.
Green Left Weekly issue 1003