By: Alan Tucker
Published by: Scholastic Australia
Published: March 2014
ISBN: 9781743622056


In his diary, Archie records his own battles at home, against the local bully Beefy; how Townsville copes as it becomes a base for the Pacific campaign; and the Australian east coast reels under Japanese bombs.

Archie's two brothers are fighting in the battlefield of World War II. There is nothing between Australia and a Japanese invasion except a small band of brave soldiers, fighting rain, mud, malaria and machine guns.


Written in diary form, this is the story of life during the Kokoda campaign, through the eyes of thirteen year old Archie McLeod and the impact of the war on his family, particularly his two older brothers who were part of this battle.

Archie’s brothers write letters home that set the scene for much of the diary and depict a particularly harsh and brutal battle.

It becomes almost a documentary of the period from October 1941 to November 1942, showing how Australian life and psyche was changed and moulded during this time.

With a trip to Kokoda becoming a ritual for many Australians in recent years, this is a good beginning point for discussions on this important moment in Australia’s development, one that still evokes much feeling today.

Best suited to older primary and younger secondary students aged 10—14.

This book was included in our March 2014 Secondary Standing Order selection.

Reviewed by Rob