The Battle of the Bismarck Sea is Michael Veitch’s tenth book relating to pilots in World War Two. His writing is very well researched and clearly written. Even though there are many complexities within this book, they are dealt with separately until they are interwoven so the reader can easily follow the events. This is a great skill which involves the reader in the unfolding of an episode.
Readers are also exposed to many stories retold from diaries and journals. A General arrived on a landing strip in New Guinea to find a shirtless man driving a bulldozer. The General approached him to enquire what he was doing. The driver replied that he was building up the soil around an unexploded bomb! There are many such stories with an index of the names of people mentioned at the back of the book. This makes it quite a personal experience.
Michael Veitch plots the build up to the battle in the Bismarck Sea with great clarity and precision. He is able to give points of view and discussions from the Australian, American and Japanese perspectives. This gives us a well rounded picture of planning, mistakes and decisions that were made. The consequences of this planning would have a vital outcome for Australia.
Never straying from the factual information that he has gathered, Veitch notes the bravery of the men in all aspects of the battle, recounting the horrors that must be the outcomes from such a battle. For Australia, this battle was “One of the most significant times in our history.”