One reason why research can be distressing

Posted on April 15, 2012

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I am one of those people who find research for their work, a fascinating exercise. In fact too much so as the research can be incredibly fascinating, leading me down all sorts of interesting diversions that keep me from getting back to what I am supposed to be doing. It is a thing of excitement, intellectually stimulating, generally keeping me pretty happy. Well, it was.

My main research activity at present is some of the nitty gritty for my work set in World War 1. Intellectually I think we all know that it was a pretty horrible thing. Reading interesting diaries and letters in the collection at the Australian War Memorial was already sobering, the diary etc coming to an abrupt end and you realise that is because the author has been killed. But as I pull apart aspects of the Australian involvement at Pozières, part of the infamous Battle of the Somme, the true horror of it all has been coming home in spades. It is little wonder that so many ex-serviceman became so anti-war. And it is increasingly upsetting me.

More than ever I think this story as it really was, not as it was later mythologised and glamorised, needs to be told. We need to remember so that we never forget what a God-awful thing war is.

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