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Underground

Underground 1

Marsupial Outlaws and Other Rebels of Australia's War in Vietnam

by Mirranda Burton
Paperback
Age range: 14 to 99 years old Publication Date: 03/08/2021
5/5 Rating 1 Review

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Led by an unconscientiously objecting wombat registered for military service during Australia's war in Vietnam, Underground digs tunnels through a chapter of Australian history that many have attempted to bury.

Why would a wombat be registered for war?

It's 1965, and an old Tattersalls barrel starts rolling marbles to randomly conscript young Australian men to fight in the war in Vietnam. Melbourne housewife Jean McLean is outraged, as are her artist friends Clif and Marlene Pugh, who live in the country with their wombat, Hooper.

Determined to wreck the system, Jean forms the Save Our Sons movement's Victorian branch, and she and her supporters take to the streets to protest. Meanwhile, in the small country town of Katunga, Bill Cantwell joins the Australian Army, and in Saigon, young Mai Ho is writing letters to South Vietnamese soldiers from her school desk. And when Hooper's call-up papers arrive, he mysteriously goes underground...

As these stories intersect in unexpected ways and destinies entwine, a new world gradually emerges - a world in which bridges of understanding make more sense than war. This stunning graphic novel, full of empathy, courage and resistance, is based on true events.

ISBN:
9781760631475
9781760631475
Category:
Graphic novels: true stories & non-fiction
Age range:
14 to 99 years old
Format:
Paperback
Publication Date:
03-08-2021
Publisher:
A&U Children's
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
272
Dimensions (mm):
270x180mm
Weight:
0.97kg
Mirranda Burton

Mirranda Burton was born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1973. She became a printmaker at the age of ten, a dedicated marimba player in her teens, and a Super 8 stop motion filmmaker at 21. She graduated from the North Adelaide School of Art in South Australia in 1995 with an Advanced Diploma, and in 2004 finished a Bachelor of Multimedia Design at Swinburne University in Melbourne. Working for many years in commercial and independent animation and as a visual artist was the catalyst for making graphic novels, and in 2011 her first book, Hidden, was published by Black Pepper Publishing. Hidden was also released in French under the title Caches by La Boite a Bulles.

In 2011 Mirranda became artist in residence for two years at Dunmoochin in Australian artist Clifton Pugh's former studio. During this residency she also learned of the Pughs' wombat, who was registered for military service in Vietnam in 1972, which started a long investigation into Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War, resulting in her graphic novel Underground: Marsupial Outlaws and Other Rebels of Australia's War in Vietnam.

The book was completed in a little shack in bushland north-east of Melbourne shared with a number of recalcitrant wombat tenants under the floorboards. In her spare time Mirranda reads, finds new spaces to grow plants, and tries to occasionally practise her marimba.

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Reviews

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1 Review

Whether you are already an avid graphic novel fan or have never picked one up in your life, this book will hit the spot, especially if you're interested in reading stories about life in Australia in the 1970s.

Underground is based on a true story and cleverly interweaves the lives of three quite different people (and a wombat!) whose paths cross in unexpected ways: a Vietnamese girl who grew up during the Vietnam War, an Australian woman who revolutionised the Australian peace movement, and a young Australian soldier who fought and was injured in the war and came back to see war through very different eyes.

Even though this book centres on the Vietnam War, it is not all gloom and doom. It has funny moments and it is inspiring and also I learnt quite a lot about that period. It has wonderful, strong women characters and the illustrations are nothing short of brilliant.

Highly recommended.

Contains Spoilers No
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