Khaki Town, Judy Nunn's exciting new novel, is inspired by a true wartime story that has remained a well-kept secret for over seventy years.
'It seems to have happened overnight,' Val thought as she pulled the beers. 'We've become a khaki town.'
It's March 1942. Singapore has fallen. Darwin has been bombed. Australia is on the brink of being invaded by the Imperial Japanese Forces. And Val Callahan, publican of The Brown's Hotel in Townsville, could not be happier as she contemplates the fortune she's making from lonely, thirsty soldiers.
Overnight the small Queensland city is transformed into the transport hub for 70,000 American and Australian soldiers destined for combat in the South Pacific. Barbed wire and gun emplacements cover the beaches. Historic buildings are commandeered. And the dance halls are in full swing with jazz, jitterbug and jive.
The Australian troops begrudge the confident, well-fed 'Yanks' who have taken over their town and their women. And there's growing conflict, too, within the American ranks. Because black GIs are enjoying the absence of segregation and the white GIs don't like it.
Then one night a massive street fight leaves a black soldier lying dead on the pavement, and the situation explodes into violent confrontation.
- Publication Date:
- 01 / 10 / 2019
- 135 x 234mm
Khaki Town is the fantastic new novel from Judy Nunn, set in the north eastern town of Townsville during the second world war. It's the story of hostile race relations between the black and white American soldiers stationed in the town and features a host of both American and Australian characters who are vivid and well developed.
The A and C Companies of the 96th division of the American Army are in Townsville to build a new base and an airport, but not everyone is happy to have them there. The White Australia Policy is in full effect and the Australian government is hesitant to have Negro soldiers on Australian soil. The locals though, tough publican Val, girlfolk Betty and Jill, Aunty Edie and intrepid reporter Pete, are happy to bring the new soldiers into their lives. Tensions still arise though and when the soldiers are banned from the town, the situation explodes in a violent and deadly riot.
A fictionalised account of true events, Nunn's latest book demonstrates her amazing skill at character building. Well researched and very realistic, Khaki Town will stick with you for a long while. - Shannon (QBD)