Dr Peter Pedersen’s scholarly study of Sir John Monash remains the finest analysis of Australia’s best known military leader. In 1918 the Australian Corps under Monash’s command played a leading role in the Allied advance to victory on the Western Front. Its successes in the battles of Hamel and Amiens, the taking of Mont St Quentin and Péronne and the breaching of the Hindenburg Line are among the most prominent landmarks in Australia’s military history. Monash was central to these pivotal achievements. This book traces Monash’s development as a commander from his pre-war militia service to his wartime experience at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. It examines in detail how each stage of his military career influenced his approach to command and the tactical problems he faced as the wartime commander of an infantry brigade and division and, ultimately, the Australian Corps. The influence of his education and civilian training are also examined in this meticulous study. What emerges from this nuanced and sophisticated assessment of Monash as a soldier is a superb portrayal of how a commander works and what he could achieve under conditions so inimical to the exercise of command as those that prevailed on the Western Front. Along the way, Dr Pedersen establishes Monash’s place among his contemporaries, British and Australian, and provides the definitive answer to the question ‘Just how good was Monash?’ Published for the centenary of the great victories of 1918, this new and updated edition of Dr Pedersen’s classic work is a timely study of Australia’s finest general.
Dr Peter Pedersen is one of Australia’s leading historians of the First World War and has written ten books on the conflict while also appearing frequently in the Australian media and as a speaker at military history conferences and seminars worldwide. A graduate of the Royal Military College, Duntroon, the Australian Command and Staff College, and the University of New South Wales, he commanded the 5th/7th Battalion, the Royal Australian Regiment, and was a political/strategic analyst in the Australian Office of National Assessments. Joining the Australian War Memorial as Senior Historian, he became Head of its Research Centre and then Acting Assistant Director of the Memorial and Head of the National Collection Branch. In 2013 he was appointed consultant historian for the Australian government’s commemorative projects on the Australian battlefields of the Western Front.