Now all roads lead to France and heavy is the tread
Of the living; but the dead returning lightly dance.
Edward Thomas, Roads

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Silent Landscape at Gallipoli
Reviewed by Mike Hanlon


Silent Landscape at Gallipoli: The Battlefields of the Dardanelles, One Hundred Years On

by Simon Doughty (Author), James Kerr (Photographer)
Helion and Company, 2018

The Sphinx, North Beach, Anzac Sector

If you were to type "Gallipoli" in the little search box at the top left corner of this page and clicked enter, you will come up with a long list that includes 41 major articles and three book reviews we have previously presented at Roads to the Great War on the Dardanelles Campaign of 1915. I've contributed a large portion of these myself, since I've read much on the subject and led two tours of the battlefields there. What all of this set me up for, however, was to have my breath taken away when I opened up my reviewer's copy of Silent Landscape at Gallipoli.

Abandoned Artillery Piece, French Sector


Cemetery at Anzac Cove


V Beach, Cape Helles


It would be easy, and quite incorrect, to categorize this large-format work as a picture book. It does have 108 magnificent color photographs (examples shown here), including overhead and oblique aerial shots by gifted landscape photographer James Kerr, but it presents much more. Excellent accounts of the military operations written by Simon Doughty are included, as well as the observations, memories, and verse of various participants and interested parties. The gulp-inducing first page sets a serious and patriotic tone for the work quoting Homer's Iliad, "Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws, and asks no omen, but his country's cause."


Silent Landscape at Gallipoli is going to be a permanent part of my personal World War One library. It is a gem of literary "packaging" with the text, photos, and maps, all seamlessly integrated and beautifully laid out. Further, I learned much about the campaign I'd previously missed and am a little embarrassed to have discovered I sometimes brought my groups past significant sites I knew nothing of. For someone wishing to learn about what happened at the Dardanelles in 1915 and is just getting started, one couldn't do better than to combine readings of either Robert Rhodes James's or Alan Moorehead's Gallipoli classics with a study of this gem by Doughty and Kerr.

Mike Hanlon

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the review, this book sounds superb.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a neat book! My grandfather was at Gallipoli in the RN, assisting in the landings. Going to add the book to my library too.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks Mike! I was on the fence regarding this book so it's now moved to my must get list. A week doesn't go by without me thinking about our trip to Gallipoli. I'm looking forward to getting this book!

    ReplyDelete