|Mufti (review by Fred Field, Captain (Ret). 2/22nd
Battalion). Peter Stone, the author and publisher of this excellent
590 page book must be congratulated not only for his easy wtiting style
but for his great perception of a most important period of the ASustralian
and her allies participation, particularly with the Japanese in New Britain
during the 1941-45 period of the war. His extensive research backed with
some 560 photographs and maps covers such a wealth of information all presented
with such understanding makes fascinating reading, and covers so much detail
of this period of hostilities of which so little has ben told, and is a
great contribution to the history of the period. Being an ex-member of
the 2/22nd Battalion, I am amazed at the detail that has gone into every
chapter, and just relive again the period on reading the personal experiences
and narratives from some of our members, records that would have been lost
to posterity, and to know at last that truth has been recorded in history.
It is a story that should be read by all.
The Australian (review by James Murray, 25/4/96). (After
an extensive feature detailing the events in Rabaul as per the book). Hostages
to Freedom is an exhaustive work of impressive research.
Vetaffairs (review by Don Hook, March 1996). Peter
Stone's Hostages to Freedom is not the first book about the fall of Rabaul
but it certainly is the most comprehensive. As Stone says, it is not a
pleasant story. Nor is it complimentary to the japanese military or the
politicians in Canberra. The well-illustrated book - there are more than
300 photographs many of which have never been published - relies greatly
on personal narrative. (Actually 561 photographs and many maps).
Una Voce Newsletter - Editorial Comment (Doug Parrish,
Editor). It is an extraordinary book.... he has chronicled the inexcuseable
blunders of the Australian government in not evacuating non-indigenous
residents (including Chinese), not fortifying Rabaul..., and making no
provision for the safe withdrawal of the pitifully few Australian troops
pitted against the Japanese hordes. He has told delicately and with empathy
the sufferings of the races imprisoned by the Japanese, the bravery of
the Tolai in assisting Australian coastwatchers and the quiet dignity of
missionaries who risked their lives daily to help the sick and the frightened.
This is a book to be savoured, page by page.... it is a must.
The Journal of the Royal Artllery, London. (Review
by Alf Baker, British ex-POW Rabaul) (Describes the book, its wide range
of subjects, mensions a few spelling errors, then comments:). I
am very pleased to have a copy which will be a very important part of my
Far East Prisoner of War library. For me it has been a very good buy.
Greg Knight, Co-author of Milne Bay 1942. Step-father
was in Rabaul Fortress Signals. I have just finished reading your
book Hostages to Freedom. I found it to be the most interesting and comprehensive
work on any papua and/or New Guinea Campaign yet written. Fantastic. Congratulations,
an excellent historical record. I am very aware of what it must have taken
to produce such a first-class record of a little known part of our history.
Doug Aplin, 2/22nd Battalion. Author of "Rabaul 1942".
too enjoyd every bit of it and am amazed at the depth of your research.
Jack Riddell, RAAF Flight Engineer, author of 'Catalina
Squadrons'. Congratulations on your book! It
will at last give some overdue publicity to the people who were placed
in jeopardy in defence of Rabaul by a Government who seemed to have no
idea of what to do..... you have provided answers to many of the questions
that have been unanswered over the years. My best wishes for the success
of your very fine publication.
Alf Baker, British POW in Rabaul, author of 'What
I want to congratulate you on what you have achieved,
it reads very well. The presentation of the book is excellent. So very
well done, and I do hope you have a great success with it. it deserves
a very wide readership. It gives a lesson that politicians and military
leaders ignore at their peril.
Joseph P. Nason, Attorney at law, USA. Ex US pilot,
POW in Rabaul. Author of "Horio! You Next Die" The book, which I
consider the definitive history of the Rabaul area during WW2, is superb.
I congratulate you on a job well done and as a writer myself, I have some
small appreciation of the immense amount of work which was entailed in
such a big project. Congratulations. I hope you reap some rewards for your
valiant efforts on behalf of those who spent so many hellish days in New
Britain. The best of luck, and keep in touch.
Dr. Peter Cahill, University of Queensland. The
book is fantastic! Very very impressed with the finished product. I feel
privileged to have been associated with it. I am pushing it here in the
History Department as essential reading in the South Pacific History and
Foreign Relations courses. Congratulations on a magnificent effort - you
must be very proud.
Lt-Colonel (ret) Ken Shave, Sydney. On HMS Glory at
the surrender. I must write to you and say what a magnificent publication
it is. The detail and coverage is quite remaarkable - I cannot think of
any other war history which ccomes near it as far as detail is concerned.
It is a truly splendid effort and a work of great dedication. Congratulations
on a really first class job.
Sister Berenice, O.L.S.H., Sydney, last surviving member
of the Vunapope and Ramale camps. What can I say! Firstly, congratulations
on a most remarkable book. I can't put it down - so much that I want to
read of the wonderful people I know, and am amazed at he detail that has
gone into every chapter. What research you have achieved throughout the
whole book. You have, in an easy to read (manner) of experiences and personal
narratives, exposed the human courage and endurance of so many of our men
which would have gone down into oblivion but for your efforts. All your
labour has been richly rewarded and the truth at last has been recorded
in history. I am really proud of you Mr Stone and am so happy to have been
of a "wee help" to you. I can't keep the Sisters away from reading it and
you should have heard all the exclamations when I opened it. "Oh, what
a beautiful cover. Look at the design, the paper, the layout, maps, photos.."
and the remarks went on and on.
Ern Smith, Staff Sergeant, 101 Brigade Workshops, Rabaul.
fascinating. A magnificent job. A reference work in itself. Most beautifully
turned out. Everybody here has thoroughly enjoyed the book and all have
commented on the range of material that has been included. A job well done.You
can get rid of the other books. This is "the bible".
John Holland, son of Frank Holland, 'Z' Force. Wow!!!
An incredible job. It has made my family proud.
Ken White, K.White (Military) Books, Canberra. A
superb publication. Excellent.
Fred Field, Captain, 2/22nd Battalion. President 2/22nd
Battalion Lark Force Association. I must congratulate you for the
most attractive presentation and wide coverage of this part of our history.
Arch Taylor, 2/22nd Battalion, 17th Anti-tank Battalion.
work. Never seen a better presentation. The book is marvellous. And don't
take any notice of those pricks who knock the book because they are not
mentioned in it.
Guy Black, 'M' and 'Z' Force. A very impressive
Dave Morgan, son of Ray Morgan, 2/22nd Battalion. (At
book launch). This books pays great tribute to my father and the
men of Lark Force. Congratulations on an excellent effort.
C.O. 'Bill' Harry, Treasurer, RSL Melbourne. 2/22nd
Battalion. Quite a production. Incredible. So much material.
Bill McGrath, Pacific Book House. Really fantastic.
A wonderful effort.
Bill Tomasini, unofficial photographer with 16th Battalion,
5th Division. A fine work of historical value.
John Maconochie, Sgt. 2/14th Battalion. Congratulations
on such a terrific production. The amount of work you must have put in
to amass all the stories, photos, orders and maps etc I just cannot imagine.
I wish you every success. You certainly deserve it.
Lex Fraser, 1st Independent Company. The book
is very interesting as many of the people mentioned were my friends. Congratulations.
David Hancox, (Marine Captain) son of Captain Dalgleigh
Hancox, salvage master. Very impressive.
Kemp Hewett, Wing Commander (Ret), one of the Wirraway
pilots at Rabaul. The scope of its contents should be a must for
anyone who was involved or who might have an interest in the period of
our history that it covers. Shirley joins me in wishing you success - it
certainly has been a mammoth task.
Bob Scott, Salvage operator. I am very very
pleased and very very proud of the job you have done with Hostages to Freedom.
You have no idea of the thrill I had and the anticipations upon opening.
I have read many wartime volumes over my life and have kept a few in mind
as outstanding greats. Hostages to Freedom takes the cake in content and
dedication by the author. Top marks.
Major (Ret) Frank Lehman, Canberra. A fantastic
book - great detail, thorough and yet easy to read. Congratulations.
Lt. Col (US Ret) K.S. Yamashita, California, USA. A
lovely surprise to open the box and now of course the fun of perusing it.
It looks interesting and is certainly a great indication of the days and
months and years you devoted to writing the book.
Ken Scully, Lark Force. Author 'Every Man For Himself'
(written under the psuedenum of John Dawes).
I congratulate you on the production of 'Hostages'. It is truly a magnificent
book.(And later - You have done a colossol job - a task I could not even
contemplate with the mountain of research required).
Ken MacGowan, son of Bill MacGowan, Medical Unit, NGVR,
escapee from Rabaul. An incredible book. I have had nothing but
absolutely fabulous reports - not just good but absolutely fabulous.
Jim Kemsley, ex ships's captain, patrol officer, New
Britain. You have done a magnificent job. ... it is a worthwhile
contributiion to the history of events in New Britain.
D.O. 'Mick' Smith, ex 2/22nd Battalion. Peter,
you have covered the story of Rabaul, its history, the first Jap landing
etc etc very well indeed. I'm sure my family will treasure your book in
the years to come.
Paul Leahy, grandson of H.J.Webster, survivor of Tol
Massacre. I have had the opportunity to have a look at the book
and consider it to be an informative and comprehensive piece of work. I
would like to pass on my family's thanks for your time and effort. It is
both appreciated and precious. Thankyou.
Connie Gault, Cottesloe, Perth, WA . It will
made a wonderful gift for my cousin Richard Gault who was in Rabaul. Thankyou
for doing it.
Joan Best, wife of Lt. E.W.Best, 2/22nd Battalion,
POW Japan. It is a truly wonderful book - so much research has gone
into writing it and you are to be congratulated on the really full ob you
have done in putting it together. I intend to give each of my daughters
a copy of the book for Christmas.
Harry Brutnall, salvage operator, Rabaul. I
thought your book a marvellous achievement, a lot of reading and a lot
of history that the average Australian knows nothiung about.
Captain Donald Hopper (Marine pilot, ret). I
thought the book was excellent .... I like the way Peter writes. Much more
interesting than the Official Histories!
Stuart Lovell, Bowen Regional Development Bureau. What
a marvellous historical record, and of immense vlaue to not only my family
on a personal note, but to others who may learn from the events surrounding
the Fall of Rabaul.
Detective Chief Inspector Graeme Sprague, son of Sydney
Sprague, 2/22nd Battalion . The written account of these times has
helped me partly understand what my father went through during the war.
I see your book as providing lasting images for myself and generations
Canon John May, 2/22nd Battalion, Rabaul. Am
enormously impressed by the sheer amount of work that has gone into (Hostages
to Freedom). You are to be congratulated on such a huge undertaking. Thankyou
for telling the Rabaul story.
Dr. M.W.Dingle, ex 13 Brigade, 28 Infantry Battalion,
New Britain. Congratulations on your magnum opus!
Mick Malone, Imprimatur Books, Perth. An excellent
book ... an extremely valuable addition to our war history.
Len Smith, Rabaul Resident 1950-1959. Your book
is marvellous. It rekindled many memories of my time in Rabaul over the
ffifties, many names of people who were disappearing from my memory. Your
book could be classed as a definitive history of the Rabaul that was.
Paul Metzler, RAAF Flight Lieutenant, 20 Squadron,
Catalinas. Spotted the invasion fleet sailing toward Rabaul and shot down,
captured, POW. Wonderful jacket cover, and a great title itself...
high quality and interest. Wishing you all success. (And later:) I have
picked up the book and despite its weight have not put it down. It is a
fascinating story. It covers very many aspects and gives great detail,
but it is neverl dull. Your research is amazing. Appendicies and indicies
are the best I have ever seen. On top of all this you are your own publisher.
I have never seen a literary effort to equal it.
Jacqueline Collins, wife of Tol Massacre survivor Bill
Collins. God bless you. You are like a son to us.
Captain John H. Iarrobino, USN (Ret). Santa Fe, California,
USA., who flew on missions over Rabaul. Congratulations on such
an outstanding book. History is much richer because of you.