The Great Galliploi Escape

The Great Galliploi Escape


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Lindsay's Review 
While war can be a difficult subject to deal with in children’s literature, this account of the Australian withdrawal from Gallipoli in 1915 manages to negotiate the space between the grim realities and the eternal human capacity for hope.

The book is set in the last days of occupation at Gallipoli, when the trench warfare was at its worst and troop morale the lowest. Sixteen-year-old Nipper, who signed up under-age, with his army buddies Lanky, Spud and Bluey, keep their spirits buoyed through mateship, banter and camaraderie. The humanity of both sides of the war is wonderfully expressed through a game of cricket between the Allies and the Turks during ceasefire. The book also has the gritty feel of a real war-time experience because the descriptions and events as the Aussie troops retreat in secret have been taken from first-hand accounts from survivors. But the book also shows that behind the violence and chaos the humanity of the troops on both sides, and the respect they feel for one another.  

This is a great book for kids from the age of 8 years to read or be read to, as there is a great deal to discuss. It's one of those kids' books that stays with you long after the last page is turned, and a subtle introduction to the intricacies of the worst of human institutions: war.

Publisher's Review 
Renowned for her historical fiction titles, Jackie French now tells the story of the brilliant and famous evacuation of Gallipoli.

Sixteen-year-old Nipper and his Gallipoli mates Lanky, Spud, Bluey and Wallaby Joe are starving, freezing and ill-equipped. By November 1915 they know that that there is more to winning a war than courage. The Gallipoli campaign has been lost.

Nipper has played cricket with the Turks in the opposing dugout, dodged rocket fire and rescued drowning, freezing men when the blizzard snow melted. He is one of the few trusted with the secret kept from even most of the officers: how an entire army will vanish from the Peninsula over three impeccably planned nights.

Based on first-hand accounts of those extraordinary last weeks of the Gallipoli campaign, this is the fascinating 'lost story' of how 150,000 men – and their horses and equipment – were secretly moved to waiting ships without a single life lost. An unforgettable story told through the eyes of a boy who lied about his age to defend his country.