Dead Men Running


Dead Men Running, first published in 1969, was, literally, D'Arcy Niland's last work as he died 2 days after completing it.

It tells the story of a friendship between an old man and a young orphan not quite at adulthood in a small country town in Australia before and at the beginning of WW1.

It's a complex book to summarise; it is humourous,wistful,happy and yet heart-rendering and violent, with emotions and ideals born on the battlefields of war suddenly bursting forth in the small Australian country town.

He has captured the spirit of the characters as well as the time in which it is set; the backdrop of a bloody war insidiously creeping into people's everyday lives and tainting it all with a depressing grey coupled with a level of mistrust and anger foreign to those at the time.

Applauded the whole world over, Dead Men Running was made into an ABC TV serial in 1971 and has been studied in Australian schools many times since it was first published.