Author(s): David Filer
Crete: Death from the Skies takes a fresh look at one of the most controversial events in our country's military history. Many books about New Zealand's war experiences tell stories of heroism and sacrifice and of plucky soldiers going beyond the call of duty, with blame for failure usually placed squarely on the shoulders of British commanders. But this book tells a different tale; of how many of the blunders that led to the deaths or imprisonment of thousands of New Zealand, Australian, British and Greek soldiers fighting on Crete were a direct consequence of the actions of our own commanders. Led by Major General Bernard Freyberg, these men made the key decisions in the defence of Crete against a daring invasion by German paratroops. Although the Allied forces fought well, certain commanders, in part through confusion, exhaustion and incompetence, made a series of mistakes which cost dearly, leading to a humiliating defeat. This book, which marks the upcoming 70th anniversary of the battle of Crete (May 1941), pointedly questions some reputations and will undoubtedly be controversial, yet it also puts the record straight, telling a story of the chaos and cock-ups that reveal the true face of war.
David Filer has been involved in telling stories about New Zealand's history for more than 30 years. He has written two books on the New Zealand experience in the Second World War, Kiwis in Khaki and Home and Away. He wrote the captions and did the picture research for the 2006 illustrated edition of Michael King's Penguin History of New Zealand. He has also worked as a researcher and writer on a number of major television series, including Freyberg VC, Our People, Our Century and Frontier of Dreams, along with many individual documentaries. His most recent publications are Painting the Frontier: The Art of New Zealand's Pioneers and Man's Best Friend: A Celebration of New Zealand's Dogs. He lives in Wellington.