From Gallipoli to Flanders to the Somme, the True Story of Three Australian Brothers at War
‘A beautifully scripted expose of one family’s experience of war’. Major General Michael Jeffery, former Governor General of Australia
‘It is an epic. To be memorable, an epic needs powerful writing, and here it is. The book could have been so much less in the hands of someone less skilled. You will be greatly rewarded by reading this book.’ Professor Bill Gammage, ANU, Canberra
‘Crack Hardy is a fine and important book… A deeply moving account of Australian soldiers so far away from home during World War I.’ Professor Ross Fitzgerald, Spectrum, Sydney Morning Herald
‘Stephen Dando-Collins skilfully braids together the Searle brothers’ story and that of Australia in the Great War’. Dr Peter Stanley, National Museum of Australia, Canberra
‘Compelling… Wonderfully eloquent.’ Carlene Ellwood, Sunday Tasmanian, Hobart
‘A very moving book.’ Richard Fidler, Conversations, ABC Radio
‘Presents the original Anzacs as men their ancestors can admire and understand.’ Stephen Matchett, Weekend Australian
‘This well-researched and well-written book also helps explain how the Anzac spirit was forged and why it helped mould the Australian identity’. Julian Burgess, Launceston Examiner
‘Gripping.’ Fiona Purdon, Brisbane Courier Mail
‘An impressive book, a wonderful book, and a story that had to be told.’ Richard Mulvaney, Director, Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, Launceston
‘The most remarkable, most human, and most fragile record of the birth of the Anzac… A poignant, at times desperate story that has rewritten the myth of the Anzac and the Digger’. Andrew Mole, Weekly Times, Melbourne
‘An amazing book’. Eoin Cameron, ABC Radio, Perth
‘A unique view of ordinary Australian men fighting a war for which they were untrained’. Jean Ferguson, Illawarra Mercury
‘A fantastic, genuine insight into an Australian family living through such trying, terrifying and triumphant times… essential reading’. Get Reading
‘Crack hardy’ was a saying among Australian and New Zealand troops in the First World War. It meant ‘put on a brave face,’ ‘grin and bear it.’
The Searle brothers had to crack hardy. Among the first to join the Australian Imperial Force in 1914, they would fight in some of the toughest battles of the war. From the April 25, 1915 landing at Gallipoli to Lone Pine. In Flanders’ muddy trenches, and at desperate Somme battles at places that would become household names. Places like Pozieres, Mouquet Farm, and Bullecourt. Culminating at Hamel on July 4, 1918, with American troops taking part with Australian units and under Australian command, the first battle of the war in which infantry, tanks and aircraft fought in unison, with stunning results.
One Searle brother would be killed on Gallipoli, another on the Western Front, and one would come home a decorated hero. Meanwhile, their parents, sisters and remaining brother back home had to crack hardy too, as the news from the front became worse and worse.
The Searle family’s compelling story, told from their letters and diaries and from family remembrances, is all the more poignant because the Searle brothers were the author’s great uncles.
Published by Random House in Australia and New Zealand in April, 2011. Paperback, AUD$34.95. ISBN: 978-1-86471-024-3. Also available as an e-book.
UK and US readers can buy online from sites including Amazon UK and Amazon.
Large print and braille editions are now available from Read How You Want: www.readhowyouwant.com