Hero or Deserter?
Rating: 3.5 / 5
Major-General Gordon Bennett was at the centre of one of World War II’s greatest controversies. He escaped back to Australia right as the Allies surrendered to the Japanese in Singapore in World War 2, leaving the troops behind to face the torture of Japanese internment. It was a decision which would divide the military and the nation.
Roger Maynard gives a comprehensive coverage of the 8th Division’s battles in Malaya and Singapore, and the military politicking behind the scenes that ensured Bennett’s actions would be heavily scrutinised. Maynard leaves us to decide the answer to the question “Was this cowardice or simply part of the human instinct to stay alive?” Hero or deserter?
Lovers of military history will find the book fascinating. As a pacifist, for me it reinforced the futility of war, and the depths to which humans can sink in the quest for power.