Japanese invasion: threat or opportunity? 

'Empty North: The Japanese Presence and Australian Reactions 1860s to 1942' by Pam Oliver

'Up the Dusty Track' by Norman W Booth

Solidarity in the face of threat is the theme of two featured books from CDU Press.

The first book, Empty North: The Japanese Presence and Australian Reactions 1860s to 1942, was awarded the Chief Minister’s Northern Territory History Book Award in 2007.

It examines the cultural response to perceived internal threats by Japanese people living in Australia at the time when Darwin was bombed.

The author, Pam Oliver, explores possible positive influences that Japanese immigration played in the development of the Northern Territory, considering key questions such as: were Australian fears of Japanese residents justified? were Japanese immigrants an official part of Japan's program of southern expansion before World War II? did they prepare for Japan's bombing of Australia?

The second book, Up the Dusty Track by Norman W Booth, is a fictitious and personal account of wartime characters and experiences.

The novel is set during the early months of 1942, at the time of the bombing of Darwin, and recounts the first response to the threat against Australia’s northern borders from the point of view of fictitious convoy driver Sergeant Sandy Duncan, who drove his truck from Alice Springs to Darwin carrying supplies and equipment to repel the Japanese.

The exploits of Sgt Duncan and his men, and the resolution of personal conflicts are a principal part of the story.

The war is seen through the eyes of various characters forming part of the convoy up the rapidly constructed track from Alice Springs to Larrimah.

This is an Australian war novel with a difference. There are no great fights. But there are daily battles against appalling conditions and equipment, in a race against time to carry troops and supplies to the North by the only route possible - overland, through harsh, sparsely populated territory.

Further information about CDU Press and its titles is available on the CDU Press website at www.cdu.edu.au/cdupress. All CDU Press titles are available for purchase from the CDU Bookshop, www.cdu.edu.au/bookshop.