Book Review: Gallipoli: The End of the Myth


by Robin Prior

New Haven: Yale University Press, 2010. Pp. xvi, 288. Illus., maps, notes, biblio., index. $22.00. ISBN: 0300168942

The bold but spectacularly unsuccessful Allied attempt to capture Constantinople by landings on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915 maintains a special fascination for both historians and the public, notably so in Australia and New Zealand .  In Gallipoli, Prof. Prior (of the Australian Defence Forces Academy , et al.), revisits this campaign, with rather fewer axes to grind than some others who have examined it.

Prior provides a very detailed, well-written account of the origins, planning, and preparations for the operation, and an often meticulous look at events as they unfolded. His conclusions are frank: Gallipoli failed not because of bad luck or the cumulative effects of minor mistakes, but because of significant flaws in planning and preparations, and particularly in conception, arguing that even had the Allies taken Constantinople, they would not have knocked the Turks out of the war, certainly a controversial assertion.  Although, when dealing with ?the other side of the hill,?  as with most treatments of the campaign, Prior says not enough about the Turks and perhaps too much about the role of their German advisors, he has made an important, if controversial contribution to the literature, though certanly not the "end of the myth.".

A rewarding read for anyone interested in World War I

Reviewer: A.A. Nofi   

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