Local writer mourns the loss and grief of war

Local writer John Tognolini
Local writer John Tognolini

Sharing people's stories of war from the past to the present day, local writer and history teacher John Tognolini has just released his latest book History, A Man's Past and Other People's Stories: A Shared Memoir. 

"It was meant to be an 85 000 word book, but then I thought: that's not a book, it's a doorstop," he said.

Now, it's smaller and will be the first of possibly four books. Part one: Other People's Wars features general themes around his own experience of growing up in Melbourne.

His own father fought in Crete in WWII and he had four uncles in WWI.

From the past to the present, he questions the hypocrisies of war, asking many questions about everything from the recognition of Aboriginal people in the war and why people who died after 1921 aren't included on the war memorial.

He has even included an interview with Dr Brian Day from his work with Radio National in 1992.

Brian Day, an Australian veteran of the Vietnam War served in around 15 different countries but was later part of Military Forces Against War.

As with his other books Tognolini looks at the sheer loss that happens through war.

"How did it affect so many people? The whole story of grief," he said.

While he believes the sacrifice of soldiers should be respected, he feels sometimes that veterans are overlooked and commemorations sometimes verge on being celebratory of war.

"One out of ten war vets are homeless," he said.

"We shouldn't encourage people to go to war or think we were the best soldiers."

With the centenary of WWI he even breaks down popular misconceptions that have appeared in recent Australian doco dramas.

"This book is also an attempt to answer that big question, why has Australia been at war so much in so many places, normally as a junior partner to Britain or the United States?"

To find out more you can look up John Tognolini on www.writersandebooks.com.

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