Pacific Island Books

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ANZAC Elite: The Airborne and Special Forces Insignia of Australia and New Zealand by Cliff Lord and Julian Tennant. Published by Transpress/IPL. ISBN 0908876106. Recommended retail price $39.95.

An all-color reference book to all the badges and insignia worn by the elite troops of the two countries, past and present. Includes brief histories of the units with some photographs, in both color and black and white.
In all there are over 700 color illustrations.

A reader comments:
"The authors must be praised for producing what I believe is a first of its kind. For people like myself who have served in a number of special forces units it is a great pictorial history. Anyone who is a serious collector of SF wings, badges and patches will find this publication an excellent pictorial reference and a must have for their own library."
Neville G. Farley, SAS Association, Queensland Branch.
Hard cover, 160 pages.


Big Death, The; Solomon Islanders Remember World War II. Recommended retail price $16, our price $15.

The Big Death is a unique record of Solomon Islander experiences during the Pacific War. It was in the Solomon Islands that Allied forces turned the tide of the Pacific War, beginning with the U.S. landings on Guadalcanal and Nggela on 7 August 1942. Scores of books have been written about the momentous events that followed, but none have described the experiences of the Solomon Islands people who watched in amazement as their once remote islands became center stage for one of the greatest military conflicts the world has ever known. Their voices, often left out of written histories, speak not only about the critical roles they played coastwatching, fighting and working, but also about the meaning of wartime events for their culture and history.

This book is also a contribution to Solomons Pijin literature. The stories are given in both English and Solomons Pijin, so that the book will have value not only as a record of this unique period in Solomon Islands history, but also as a tool for language learning and literacy. Soft cover, 242 pages.


Crossfire: An Australian Reconnaisance Unit in Vietnam by Peter Haran and Robert Kearney. Published by New Holland Publishers. ISBN 186436721-0. Recommended retail price $15.95.

The Fog of War is like scuba diving. You're wearing a diving mask and all you can see is what's straight ahead, all you hear is your own breathing and a rushing sound in your ears. Outside that mask is just silence, like somone turned a radio off but it keeps coming back in bursts of horrible loudness. There is a crack above your head and then a loud bang and your ears shut down to all noise: they're overloaded. Then there's silence again, a silence you want to stop. The Fog of War drains every ounce of energy out of your body in a rush. You have never been so terrified in your life - but never so capable and determined.

In October 1966 a group of 28 soldiers was chosen to form Australia's first specialist Reconnaisance Platoon in the Vietnam War. One of this platoon's section commanders was a 20-year-old regular soldier called Bob Kearney, who lead a series of deadly patrols while the First Australian Task Force established its headquarters in South Vietnam. Operating in isolation and extreme danger ahead of the main Australian forces, these young men braved regular enemy contacts, mines, booby traps, and the natural perils of the teeming jungle. This is the story of Bob and his unit - a tale of courage, terror, madness and survival.

Like most veterans, the war didn't end for Bob and his fellow soldiers when their tour of duty was done: it haunted them night and day for decades. The lifelong bond forged between these men in Vietnam see them reunite 30 years later in the silent vastness of the Australian Outback. Reliving the fears, the desperation and the camaraderie of war, they finally lay their crippling ghosts to rest.

Bob Kearney teams up with fellow Vietnam veteran Peter Haran, best-selling author of Trackers, to tell this gripping story of men at was whose toughest battle is to regain peace. Soft cover, 237 pages. Published in 2001.


From Trench and Troopship: The Experience of the Australian Imperial Force 1914 – 1919 by David Kent. Recommended retail price $27, our price $25.

Between 1914 and 1919, every troopship leaving Australia or returning to it produced a shipboard newspaper – the first recorded was The Latrine Leader and W.W. Chronicle, produced on the Kanowna bound for Raboul in August 1914. The custom was continued in base camps, at Gallipoli, and in the trenches in France, and the result was a large body of literature, ranging from handwritten sheets compiled under fire and posted in dugouts to journals and souvenir magazines professionally printed behind the lines.

As a record of Australian service life during the Great War, this material has a richness of detail, an immediacy and spontaneity that cannot be found in any official history. Sometimes deeply moving, usually humorous, it offers insights into the experience of ordinary soldiers in extraordinary settings and at the same time, illuminates contemporary Australian society. Historian David Kent has selected from this treasure-house of vernacular writing to create a memorable anthology, each section of which is accompanied by a narrative providing the historical and social context. Historical photographs and facsimiles of these fragile artifacts of the past complement the text. Soft cover, 192 pages.

Click here for page from From Trench and Troopship by David Kent

Grande Mort, La. Traduit par Cécile Espigolé. Recommended retail price $16.00.

The same as the Big Death but in French not Solomon's pijin.

Soft cover, 174 pages. Published in 2003.


In The Wake: The True Story of the Melbourne-Evans Collision, Conspiracy and Cover-up by Jo Stevenson. Recommended retail price $16.

In the pre-dawn of 3 June 1969, during SEATO naval exercises in the South China Sea, a collision occurred between the Australian aircraft carrier HMAS Melbourne and the American destroyer USS Frank K. Evans. The Evans was sliced in two and 74 of her crew tragically died. Although completely cleared by the joint Board of Inquiry, Captain J.P. Stevenson, who was commanding HMAS Melbourne, was subsequently court-martialled by the Australian Naval Board. He was ‘Honorably Acquitted’. The author’s account of the collision and its aftermath, No Case to Answer, was published in 1971 and became a bestseller. In the wake of the storm of controversy which surrounded the disaster, further information has come to light and the author has substantially re-written her original book. Soft cover, 264 pages.

Click here for photo of the USS Frank E. Evans. (28.73K)



My War and Peace by Alec Goldsmith. Published by National Pacific Press. ISBN 0958244812. Recommended retail price $27.95.



Shores of Gallipoli,The : Naval Aspects of the Anzac Campaign by Tom Frame. Published by Hale and Iremonger. ISBN 0868066761. Recommended retail price $30.

Few people realize that the Royal Australian Navy played a crucial part in the Gallipoli campaign, a tragic operation which cost 8,000 Australian lives. Australia's best known naval historian, Dr. Tom Frame, describes the outstanding achievement of the submarine AE 2, the first Allied submarine to penetrate the Dardanelles, and the heroic work of the RAN Bridging Train. He also reveals how the sunken AE 2 was discovered by a joint Australian-Turkish diving team in 1998. Most striking is his argument that professional bravado, poor navigation and inaccurate charts resulted in the Anzacs being put on the 'wrong' beach, rather than an alleged tidal current. Based on original research and the author's personal knowledge of the Gallipoli Peninsula and the north-east Aegean Sea, this compelling account makes a major contribution to Gallipoli history. Soft cover,
256 pages. Published in 2000.


Warrior Nation: New Zealanders at the Front, 1900-2000 by John Thomson.  ISBN 1-877161-89-6.  Published by Hazard Press. Recommended retail price $30.

This is the story of heroes - the soldiers, sailors and airmen who left New Zealand to do battle as front-line warriors. It is the story of New Zealand’s rich record of loyalty, courage and sacrifice that built the confidence of a young nation. John Thomson’s gripping and easily read account covers a century of conflict, from the guerrilla warfare in South Africa to the bloody disasters at Gallipoli, Passchendaele, Crete and Cassino, victories in the air over Europe and success in North Africa, Asia and the Pacific. In the first fifty years of the century New Zealand servicemen fought three times in foreign lands in response to calls from Britain. The cost in human terms was staggering. In the second fifty years young New Zealanders served as peacekeepers in trouble-spots around the world. Lest we forget... John Thomson has written this book so that every generation of New Zealanders will know the courage and character of those front-line warriors. “...Thorough research, with an intelligent balance of judgment... A brilliant book...the definitive work which will be difficult to out-publish over the next decade.” Dr Frank Glen, Editor, NZ Journal of Military History. Cover painting: ‘Battle of Chunuk Bair’ from an original oil by Ion Brown. Reproduced by kind permission of the Chief of General Staff. New Zealand Army copyright.  Soft cover 344 pages. Published in 2000.


Yesterday's Drums: Echoes From the Wasteland of War by Tony Vercoe. ISBN 1877228516. Published by Steele Roberts. Recommended retail price $22.95.

Shakespeare and a few other wise people defined it: War is hell. Those who have been there are unlikely to disagree. Many World War II servicemen found it such hell that for a long time afterwards they refused to talk about it, preferring to disregard that grim episode as having no relevance for the life ahead.

Twenty, thirty, fifty years on, and time had modified this view for many o f them. They had learned that memories last forever, stored in a mental databank, and knew that some of theirs held valuable detail.

Fair enough then. Let's probe the shadows; free the ghosts; rouse the echoes.

After service discharge in 1945 and a year in his old Lands & Survey job in Wellington, Tony Vercoe studied at Trinity College of Music, London and afterwards held a three-year opera and drama scholarship at the Royal College of Music, gaining ARCM and the Mario Grisi Prize. He joined the Old Vic in 1951, took principal roles in Festival of Britain and Edinburgh Festival opera productions, and appeared on BBC programs.

Returning in 1954, Tony worked for the NZ Broadcasting Service for five years, then with Reed publishers, continuing his singing with the NZ Opera Co, in concerts and broadcasts.

In 1978 he established Kiwi Pacific Records Limited, producing and publishing New Zealand and Pacific recordings until retirement in 1990. He received special awards from composer and industry organizations in 1986 and 1989 for outstanding services to New Zealand music.

Tony and his wife Mary have two married children and live near Wellington. Currently
he is collaborating with British researchers on two books about other WWII topics.

"This excellent, distinctive book, a vital true story from a 2NZEF serviceman, haunting in many pages and telling it how it was..." -- Jim Henderson - war historian, author of Gunner Inglorious. Hard cover, 208 pages. Published in 2001.

Click on links below for these books.

Big Wok: Storian Blong Wol Wo Tu Long Vanuatu edited by Lamont Lindstrom and James Gwero

Classic Fighters 2005 Souvenir Edition

Classic Fighters 2007 Souvenir Edition

I Remember Hiroshima by Stephen Kelen

I Was No Soldier: An Artist's War Diary by Ted Lewis

Tagi Tote E Loto Haaku - My Heart is Crying a Little by Margaret Pointer and Kalaisi Folau

This is Guadalcanal: The original combat photography by L. Douglas Keeney and William S. Butler

Tiger Moths & Butterflies: With the Airforce in War and Peace by Peter Norman

Tokyo Calling: the Charles Cousens Case by Ivan Chapman

We Will Not Cease: The New Zealand Classic by Archibald Baxter

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