Fear Drive My Feet (Text Classics)
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"Australia's finest war memoir."—Peter Pierce
At age eighteen, Peter Ryan was an intelligence operative, patrolling isolated regions of New Guinea during World War II.
Isolated, with Japanese forces closing in, he endured the hardships of the jungle without adequate supplies, a radio, or even a proper map. His very survival depended on forging relationships with the local tribes, and every choice could lead to catastrophe. For his work, Ryan was awarded the Military Medal and mentioned in dispatches.
Ryan's gripping account has become a classic memoir of the war in the Pacific, rarely out of print in forty years.
distance. The Busu, a considerable stream even here, flowed into the Huon Gulf not many miles from Lae as a large muddy river. The hills, dotted here and there with gardens, were every conceivable shade of blue. Drifting smoke from some of the gardens indicated that the owners were clearing new ground. As Les had said, the natives grew abundant and varied crops in the rich red-brown soil – we were to see that this country was as productive as it was beautiful. The luluai shouted to the women that
men at Bob’s suspected him of giving the Japs in Lae information about our movements in the Markham Valley. This was never proved, and in fact he was eventually awarded the Loyal Service Medal. But even if he had been playing ball with the Japanese, who could blame him? The war was not of his making. If, for some reason unknown to him, white men and yellow men wanted to fight like animals in his country, what was more natural than for him to work for the safety of his own people? Until it became
they would stay overnight with him, helping to eat the enormous pile of food which was always on hand. Watute was a shrewd fellow, and his long service as a detective in the police force had made him something of a psychologist. A tultul who called upon Watute with a secret in his mind usually went away having said more than he intended, and perhaps without realizing how much he had said, so skilful was the questioning. We gathered that the Japanese, though still inclined to confine their
walking was along a watercourse, and the boots were never dry from one day’s end to another. They were soon reduced to a sodden pulp, which fell to pieces. Already, only a week out from the Markham, our first pair were showing signs of disintegration, and it seemed that our five spare pairs each would be none too many. Where the track to Sokulen lay across the divide it seemed as though it had been subjected to recent heavy traffic. The ground was muddy and churned up, and the track was much
him. He had for some years been a cook for Leigh Vial, the first patrol officer to penetrate this area, and upon his return home he had been made tultul. He was a person of great strength of character. He told us that mission teachers had been pestering him to get rid of the village book and his official hat, but he had steadfastly refused to do so. Indeed, his was the only village on the north side of the Saruwageds where the book and hat could be produced at our request. In spite of all