180 pages | 26 B/W Illus.
Eric Bogle has written many iconic songs that deal with the futility and waste of war. Two of these in particular, ‘And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘No Man’s Land (a.k.a. The Green Fields of France)’, have been recorded numerous times in a dozen or more languages indicating the universality and power of their simple message. Bogle’s other compositions about the First World War give a voice to the voiceless, prominence to the forgotten and personality to the anonymous as they interrogate the human experience, celebrate its spirit and empathise with its suffering.
This book examines Eric Bogle’s songs about the Great War within the geographies and socio-cultural contexts in which they were written and consumed. From Anzac Day in Australia and Turkey to the ‘The Troubles’ in Northern Ireland and from small Aboriginal communities in the Coorong to the influence of prime ministers and rock stars on a world stage, we are urged to contemplate the nature and importance of popular culture in shaping contemporary notions of history and national identity. It is entirely appropriate that we do so through the words of an artist who Melody Maker described as ‘the most important songwriter of our time’.
"This book represents the remarkably creative coming together of an academic with a great singer/songwriter. The result is an extraordinarily moving account of a combination of Great War remembrance and committed activism in which Eric Bogle’s songs are analysed in terms of the contexts of their creation and the profound ideals which they promote. The book includes an illuminating interview with Bogle during a centennial visit to the battlefield of the Somme. All those with an interest in the First World War and the poetry and folk music it inspired will find that reading it offers a truly profound experience."
- John M. MacKenzie, Emeritus Professor of Imperial History at Lancaster University, UK
"Eric Bogle is our greatest songwriter. This book shows a skilled professional at work – and, typically, working hard to underplay his importance!"
- Bill Gammage, Author of The Broken Years: Australian Soldiers in the Great War.
Introduction – Eric and me
Conclusion ‘Again and again and again and again…’