Graham Wilson was passionate about myth-busting. While the author of Bully Beef & Balderdash and Dust, Delusions & Donkeys passed away on 17 April 201...
Dust, Donkeys and Delusion examines and clinically debunks the myth that has grown up around Private John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the so-called ‘Man with the Donkey’, the quintessential Australian ‘hero’ of Gallipoli. While the various elements of the Simpson myth have now become popularly accepted as ‘history’, Dust, Donkeys and Delusion shows clearly, based on historical documents, both official and unofficial, that almost every word ever spoken or written about Simpson following his death is false.
There is no question that Simpson performed valuable work at Gallipoli using a donkey to transport lightly wounded men to medical facilities. However, claims made that Simpson ‘saved 300 men’; that he ‘ignored orders’ that medical personnel were not to go out to recover wounded as it was too dangerous; that, in performing his self-appointed task he was a ‘deserter’ who would probably have been court-martialled and shot had he been in the British Army; that he was an ill- behaved insubordinate with discipline problems; that he made ‘lighting dashes’ into no man’s land to rescue wounded men under enemy fire; — these and every other posthumous statement made about Simpson are examined in forensic detail, and found to be highly inaccurate. In particular, the book examines that part of the myth connected with the supposed ‘official recommendation’ for a Victoria Cross for Simpson, a campaign that continues to this day.
Dust, Donkeys and Delusion does not criticise John Simpson Kirkpatrick himself, recognising that he bears no blame for the nonsensical myth that have grown up around him. The book is very much an attack on the myth and has been written to strip away the layers of half-truth, mistruth and untruth that have surrounded Simpson since the time of his death, revealing the man himself, while at the same time correcting the historical record. Dust, Donkeys and Delusion also seeks to rehabilitate the memory of other soldiers who served at Gallipoli, particularly Simpson’s fellow stretcher-bearers.
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Congratulations to Graham Wilson for having the co
I have just read Dust Donkeys and Delusions and would like you to pass on my congratulations to the author, Graham Wilson.
I found it so refreshing to find an author who seeks to deal with the facts rather than accept whatever has been written before.
In recent years I have become increasingly concerned with the way in which the history of the 1st AIF, and ANZAC, in particular , has been trivialised, mytholigised and hijacked.
My view is that there is much to be proud of in the 1st AIF, but that we should honour the diggers for what they did, NOT what they did not do.
There are countless episodes of heroism and hardship in what actually happened; we do not need to make them up.
Congratulations to Graham Wilson for having the courage to challenge the myths.
well researched, interesting and informative work
I read and enjoyed Dust Donkeys and Delusions. I discussed the book on our program "And Your Library Number Is. This is a program where we look at books borrowed from our local library.
Thank you for a well researched, interesting and informative work
Lieutenant General Peter Leahy AC (Rtd)
Excerpt from speech at the launch of Dust Donkeys and Delusions -
“Many will disagree with Graham Wilson’s conclusion that Simpson should not be awarded a Victoria Cross. But they will not be able to disagree with his exhaustive research and meticulous use of the historical records to debunk what he calls the Simpson Myth."
"It may be acceptable to reinterpret history but as Wilson shows in this book we should not try and remake history. We were not there and we should leave the decisions to those who were there at the time. Graham Wilson’s book highlights the folly of contemporary populist campaigns to reinvent history and grant honours and awards to individuals from past wars.”
Lieutenant General Peter Leahy AC (Rtd)
Review by Mick Toal Sydney Daily Telegraph
By the Book - Sydney Daily Telegraph - Thursday 31 May 2012
JOHN Simpson Kirkpatrick a knockabout English seafarer who jumped ship in Australia in 1913 and enlisted as a Digger for the Great War under an assumed name was one of the icons of Australia's participation in the ultimately disastrous British-led invasion of Turkey at Gallipoli.
"The man with the donkey" became bywords for heroism, bravery, mateship and larrikinism trouble was, almost none of the tales were true. Former soldier turned historian Graham Wilson forensically debunks each and every one of the myths about Simpson the man in his groundbreaking Dust, Donkeys And Delusions.
The resulting book makes for riveting reading, and while it may be condemned as outright heresy by apologists for the Anzac myth, the research paints Simpson as a solid bloke who did his job and lost his life in doing so as did thousands of other Australians who served at Gallipoli.
The book's release is timely considering the panel review of the application for Simpson to receive a posthumous Victoria Cross will hand down its finding next month.
Media Release: June 2012
Dust Donkeys and Delusions Review : Sydney Daily Telegraph
Dust Donkeys and Delusion Review - Launceston Examiner
Author of Dust Donkeys and Delusions - Graham Wilson - 'proven right'- article in Mildura Weekly.
Review in Australian Defence Magazine for Dust Donkeys and Delusions by Graham Wilson
Review In Newcastle Herald - Dust Donkeys and Delusion "(author) Graham Wilson is picking a sizeable fight..."
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