Published: Tue 6 Mar 2012

The story of Australia’s long war in Vietnam has now been completed with the release of the final volume of the Official History of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam War, published by Allen and Unwin in association with the Australian War Memorial.

Written by Ashley Ekins with Ian McNeill, Fighting to the Finish: the Australian Army and the Vietnam War 1968–1975, tells the story of the soldiers’ war, relating with empathy and insight their actions, their achievements, and their tragic losses during the peak period of Australian operations in Vietnam from the middle of 1968 to the end of 1971. 

The final years of Australia’s war in Vietnam have generally tended to be overlooked in previous accounts, whether scholarly or popular. Fighting to the Finish brings fresh insight to this period of intense activity and momentous change, covering many operations in greater depth than has been previously possible. 

The history is a comprehensive examination of Australian ground operations from the perspective of the senior Australian operational commander, but also describes the experience of Australian soldiers in the field. During this period Australian troops were involved in almost 100 major operations and 250 soldiers their lives—more than half the total who died during Australia’s ten-year involvement in Vietnam. 

Fighting to the Finish explores in depth the protracted withdrawal of combat forces against the backdrop of increasing social and political discord at home, exploring the cost and consequences of the government’s strategy and the implications for the Australian–American alliance. It tells for the first time the full stories of Australia’s last soldiers missing in action, and the circumstances surrounding the controversial barrier minefield and its clearing.

As part of the Official History series, Fighting to the Finish is based on unrestricted access to official records, including highly classified defence files and operational records. It offers a critical and candid analysis of the successes and failures of Australia’s involvement in Vietnam. 

Fighting to the Finish was written by Ashley Ekins, Head of Military History at the Memorial, with his late colleague, Dr Ian McNeill. It is the ninth and final volume of the Official History of Australia’s Involvement in Southeast Asian Conflicts 1948–1975. 

Fighting to the Finish is available now from booksellers and the Memorial's Shop.

 Hardback, 1184 pages, richly illustrated with 250 photographs and over 40 maps and other visuals.

Published by Allen and Unwin

AU $100


Tom Vasey           (02) 6243 4575     0409 600 038

Marylou Pooley    (02) 6243 4383     0412 646 298