Journeys Through Two Wars. "Are you going to Vietnam?" Back in the 1960s this was the question in the back of every teenage boy's mind.
For Garrie Hutchinson, the answer was "no". A poet and anti-war activist, he did not register for national service, and went to still-swinging London rather than directly to gaol, before returning home to face the music.
In 1997 Garrie finally made it to Vietnam. He started in Singapore and travelled by train, boat, elephant, pony cart, bus and plane through Malaysia, Thailand, Burma, Cambodia and Laos. He wanted to understand the experiences of his father's generation, who had fought in the tragic battles of the Second World War in Southeast Asia, yet were prepared to send their sons to Vietnam.
'Not Going To Vietnam' begins in 1968, telling the story of the boy who didn't go to war, before taking the road with the Australians who did - both in 1942, in Singapore, Malaya and up the Thailand-Burma Railway, and later in Vietnam. Searching for Australia's place in the historical and literary landscape between Southeast Asia of the war-torn 1940s and the economic meltdown of 1997, he finds the common ground between his father's generation and his own.
Garry Hutchinson tracked the Australian stories in the Middle East in 'An Australian Odyssey: From Giza To Gallipoli'. He continues his journey through Australian memory and Southeast Asia in 'Not Going To Vietnam: Journeys Through Two Wars'.