Posted 2009-09-22 by C. Sandell in Victoria, Australia.
There is an alarming trend in how many Battalion histories are no longer available for purchase by the public. Most disturbing is how published diaries of individual soldiers are not being reprinted. In particular, P.O.W. (prisoner of war) diaries which are almost non existent in the first place because of the danger involved in writing them. I especially respect those few who wrote a diary as a Japanese P.O.W. despite knowing that the penalty for being caught was certain death. These diaries also provide names, locations and dates that can be used for researching family members. Official publications can never go into this detail; the wide scope of their content simply makes it impractical. Even so, whether or not each book has value to a researcher is irrelevant; every author had a unique perspective that will otherwise be lost forever. Interest in Australian military history continues to increase every year; just look at how Gallipoli and ANZAC Day are viewed now compared to years ago. If the books are not made available through reprints, we will lose that aspect of Australian history and be answerable to succeeding generations on why we let it happen.