Hard Jacka


This new book by Michael Lawriwsky is another cracker!

In Michael’s first book, "Hard Jacka” we read about the paladin of the 1st Australian Imperial Force, Captain Albert Jacka, VC, MC and bar.

An astonishing courage under continuous circumstances of mortal danger was the quality at the core of this famous man, so naturally the first book told the story of how Jacka became Australia's first VC winner of World War I and how he soldiered on in the most gallant way throughout the rest of that vicious and bloody conflict.

"Hard Jacka" was a thrilling read with Michael's device of ascribing dialogue to emotions and events working particularly well because it put the living flesh of realism on the dry bones of history.

We felt we were in the trenches with Bert Jacka and his comrades-in-arms. But we needed to know more about this Australian, lionised and cherished not only by the men with whom he served but also by the nation in whose service he excelled.

In the sequel, "Return of the Gallipoli Legend", Michael has again brought his forensic microscope of accuracy and his empathetic and persuasive ear for the human interaction involved in this, the wider story of Albert Jacka, a hero returned home, a returned man trying to make a home. We reflect and read about a man who can never escape his public prominence but who is subject to the same doubts and inadequacies and failures of many of his comrades in the peace which followed war.

Before I started the "Return", I wondered if my feelings towards Jacka would change for the worse after reading of his life out of uniform, all too soon cut short. Of course, the opposite is true -- the ordinariness of Bert Jacka, his anxiety, his setbacks, his estrangements all just underscore his courage, stamina and iron will in his years on the battlefield.

At the time of writing I am the chairman of the Council of the Australian War Memorial and as such, as a rule I refrain from writing forewords or otherwise endorsing publications not authored within the War Memorial staff.

However I recall saying to Michael after reading "Hard Jacka" and writing a foreword for it that there ought to be a sequel and I would be honoured to write the foreword.

I am thus honoured, this is a great story of a great man which gives a context to some of the most gallant deeds ever performed by an Australian.

Well done, Michael!

Peter Cosgrove
General (Retd)


Copyright © 2010 Michael Lawriwsky