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Fit to fight: compulsory military training and national service in New Zealand 1949-1972 by PDF Cooke

September 27, 2013

fit to fightThis is the best book I have read in a long time, bar none. The author has brought to the reader an informative and researched work on a truly divisive subject, and leaves the reader to make their own decision on how they feel on it – a lost skill amongst books of today.

We learn about why New Zealand moved towards compulsory military training, what it cost and the effects on New Zealand. This book covers the military, political and social aspects.

Yet it is in no way judgemental  and covers the anti-war lobby that started after the Second World War and the defence minded lobby who feared the growing communist threat to the Mother Country. It tells the stories of the politicians on both side of the spectrum, the men (Maori and European), those who joined willingly and those who were dragged in, or fled. It tells of the bureaucracy to run it and in some places the utter incompetency in running it, and of a society that was living within the pride and glory of the victory of the Second World War, and the anger and anti-war movement of Vietnam.

This book ticks all the boxes for military enthusiasts, historians and those of you waiting for a good read.  Highly recommended.

– Darren Russell

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