A Very Long War: The Families who Waited

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Melbourne University Press, 2000 - History - 200 pages
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A Very Long War is about the experiences of the families of men missing in the New Guinea islands during World War 2, many of whom never returned. When Japan entered the Pacific war, the Australian Government evacuated all Australian women and children from the Territory of New Guinea. The women found themselves suddenly alone and solely responsible for the welfare of their families. Back in Australia, they were cut off from letters and reliable news for three and a half years. Rumours abounded, adding to their trauma and anxiety. Like the families of POWs, they lived in a limbo of waiting. For many of them, the effects of the mystery and the trauma have continued to the present day. A Very Long War is a calm, respectful narrative, beautifully told, never over-written. Its poignant, sometimes shocking stories are treated with insight and restraint. Through the voices of those who provided oral testimony, it echoes the common condition of all people struggling to deal with trauma and loss.

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About the author (2000)

Margaret Reeson is currently moderator of the Uniting Church, NSW Synod. After long experience in general and Christian education of children and adults in both Australia and Papua New Guinea, she gained her M.A. at the Australian National University in 1996. She has a particular interest in culture contact relating to Christian missions. She is the author of Currency Lass, Certain Lives, and A Singular Woman.

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