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Tobruk 1941

Tobruk 1941

Text Classics

Chester Wilmot and Peter Cochrane

In early 1941 Australian soldiers stormed Italy’s stronghold on the Libyan coast and took control of the port city of Tobruk. Heavily outnumbered, yet resourceful and defiant, the Australians then defended the garrison against sustained attack by German forces. For five months the ‘Rats of Tobruk’ held on, dealing a major blow to the Axis powers’ North African campaign. Tobruk 1941 is the pioneering ABC reporter Chester Wilmot’s on-the-ground account of the siege, a landmark work of war writing.

This edition comes with a new introduction by the historian Peter Cochrane.  

Read an edited address by Paul Kelly to the CEW. Bean Foundation Annual Dinner about Chester Wilmot.



About the Authors

Chester Wilmot was born in 1911, and studied history and law at the University of Melbourne. After working briefly as a legal clerk, he became a war correspondent for the ABC and later the BBC, working in the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and New Guinea. A dynamic, innovative and sometimes controversial journalist, Wilmot reported from the...

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Peter Cochrane

Peter Cochrane’s writing about war includes the award-winning Simpson and the Donkey: The Making of a Legend; the companion volume to the ABC TV series Australians at War; and two studies of wartime photography, The Western Front, 1916–18 and Tobruk 1941. Cochrane is also the author of Colonial Ambition: Foundations of Australian Democracy,...

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Text publication date:
3 April 2017
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Praise for Chester Wilmot and Peter Cochrane
andTobruk 1941

‘Riveting…[Tobruk 1941] brings to vivid life the battle.’

‘[Chester Wilmot is] one of the greats of Australian journalism.’

‘Wilmot effectively invented the modern method of writing contemporary military history.’

‘It’s not true that time preserves the best books. It’s often neglectful…Wilmot was with the Australian and British troops at Tobruk, during its capture and after. He takes you onto the battlefield: describing sappers dismantling land mines with sticks in advance of the troops. Australians capturing surprised Italians at mealtime then finishing their meals for them, and the courage it takes to stand your ground and shoot Stukas from the sky to keep the life-line harbour going. Informed, incisive and vivid.’

‘What matters most is that a magisterial book by a great and intrepid journalist is once again accorded the attention it so richly deserves.’

Other editions ofTobruk 1941
  • Tobruk 1941
    ISBN: 9781925410693
    3 April 2017
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byPeter Cochrane