Books | 11 February 2014

Anzac's long shadow: the cost of our national obsession

Lowy Institute Military Fellow, and former army officer, James Brown believes that Australia is expending too much time, money and emotion on the Anzac legend, and that today's soldiers are suffering for it.

Vividly evoking the war in Afghanistan, Brown reveals the experience of the modern soldier. He looks closely at the companies and clubs that trade on the Anzac story. He shows that Australians spend a lot more time looking after dead warriors than those who are alive. We focus on a cult of remembrance, instead of understanding a new world of soldiering and strategy. And we make it impossible to criticise the Australian Defence Force, even when it makes the same mistakes over and over. None of this is good for our soldiers or our ability to deal with a changing world. With respect and passion, Brown shines a new light on Anzac's long shadow and calls for change.


Anzac's Long Shadow is available to purchase in bookstores. The book is also available online.

  • James Brown

Lowy Institute Military Fellow, and former army officer, James Brown believes that Australia is expending too much time, money and emotion on the Anzac legend, and that today's soldiers are suffering for it.

Vividly evoking the war in Afghanistan, Brown reveals the experience of the modern soldier. He looks closely at the companies and clubs that trade on the Anzac story. He shows that Australians spend a lot more time looking after dead warriors than those who are alive. We focus on a cult of remembrance, instead of understanding a new world of soldiering and strategy. And we make it impossible to criticise the Australian Defence Force, even when it makes the same mistakes over and over. None of this is good for our soldiers or our ability to deal with a changing world. With respect and passion, Brown shines a new light on Anzac's long shadow and calls for change.


Anzac's Long Shadow is available to purchase in bookstores. The book is also available online.

  • James Brown

Key Findings

  • "Bold, original, challenging - James Brown tackles the burgenoning Anzac industry and asks Australians to re-examine how we think about the military and modern-day service." - Leigh Sales
  • "The best book yet written, not just on Australia's Afghan war, but on war itself and the creator/destroyer myth of Anzac." - John Birmingham
  • "Anzac's Long Shadow is refreshing and engaging. It is also frank and no-nonsense. James Brown sets himself apart as a leader in this new generation of Anzacs by asking the hard questions." - Peter Leahy, Chief of the Australian Army, 2002-08