Home :: Browse All Books :: Military :: No Better Death

No Better Death

No Better Death
Our price:
including GST
John Crawford (editor)

No Better Death

The Great War diaries and letters of William G. Malone

Edited by John Crawford 

Perhaps the greatest leader of men during the Gallipoli campaign, Lieutenant-Colonel W. G. Malone was commanding officer of the Wellington Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force at Gallipoli. He is probably the best-known individual from that ill-fated campaign, a result both of his humanity and his superb leadership, which culminated in the successful assault on Chunuk Bair on 8 August 1915. Malone was killed later that day.
No Better Death reproduces Malone’s impressive and often moving correspondence and writings, as well as many striking photographs generously provided by Malone’s descendants. Malone was a gifted writer and a keen observer, and his letters reveal a shrewd military intelligence and genuine care for his men. Above all, this is a story of valour and fortitude under the enormous pressure of being responsible for the lives of many others. It is also the story of a man who had an unbounded love for his family, and constantly drew on the reciprocity of that love to pull through and overcome the frustrations, fear and life-threatening situations he was forced to endure. Malone’s descendants have subsequently served their country with honour, and their stories are also recorded in the book.  
Specifications: Hardback | 242 x 184 mm | 376 pages

About the editor:

John Crawford (ed.) is the New Zealand Defence Force Historian and has written on many aspects of the history of the New Zealand Armed Forces and defence policy. In 2007 he edited, with Ian McGibbon, Exisle’s monumental book, New Zealand’s Great War, and in 2008 he edited The Devil’s Own War: The First World War Diary of Brigadier-General Herbert Hart. He has also written To Fight for the Empire: An Illustrated History of New Zealand and the South African War, 1899-1902. He lives in Wellington.


Book Preview:




Mufti Magazine, July 2015

"Highly recommended”

Exisle Publishing No Better Death Mufti Magazine

Australian Defence Force Review, March 2015

a fitting testimony to a life devoted to his family and his country

No Better Death Exisle John Crawford


MUFTI Magazine - December 2014

As we move ever closer to the centenary of the ANZAC landings on Gallipoli it is hardly surprising that publishers are releasing a whole host of books that provide fresh evidence to mark this historic event and new insights into this harrowing campaign. Film makers and TV producers are not far behind in their frantic efforts to obtain publicity for their products, so expect more of the same.

In Australia, when we think of the Gallipoli campaign, we tend to concentrate on the heroic part played by the men of this country in the failed attempt to secure the Dardanelles and allow the Imperial Fleet to go all the way to Constantinople (now Istanbul). But in so doing we overlook that ANZAC was a combined force containing a significant component of troops from our neighbours across the Tasman. This makes the release of this book particularly timely and serves to remind us of the important part they played in that ill-fated campaign. Indeed, in some respects, New Zealanders achieved more in terms of capturing the strategic height of Chunuk Bair and holding it for two days than did any other of the troops involved in the fateful months from April to August 1915. The capture of Chunuk Bair marked the furthest advance made by Anzac forces in the entire campaign.

This book is not a popular history of the Gallipoli campaign but rather a well-edited collection of diary extracts and letters from an outstanding New Zealand soldier.

Lieutenant-Colonel William G. Malone was the commanding officer of the Wellington Battalion of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force that formed part of the Anzac contingent - there were three other NZ infantry battalions - assembled in response to Britain’s appeal for help to combat the Turkish threat in the Middle East.

Renowned for his strict discipline and meticulous attention to planning, he emerges as a courageous and thoughtful leader yet one always concerned for the welfare of his men, who never expected more of them than he was prepared to do himself. He personally led the assault that captured Chunuk Bair and was killed in that heroic action.

Had this strategic height been held it might well have changed the entire outcome of the Gallipoli campaign. Colonel, later General Sir John Monash, whose 4th Brigade supported the New Zealanders, described its loss ‘as the blackest day in his life.’

This is a  book that reveals much about the day-to-day reality and the feelings of those who took part in that ill-fated campaign and one that helps redress the imbalance between Australia’s and New Zealand’s involvement in Gallipoli. Well illustrated, many photos taken by Malone himself (one amazing photograph shows the close proximity between the opposing trenches) it lacks some simple supporting maps that would help the reader understand the geographical difficulties faced by the attacking forces and the moves made by the opposing Turks.

Despite its grisly title - I would have preferred ‘No Better Cause’ – it is recommended.

FOOTNOTE: Maintaining the family tradition, three of Malones sons served in WW2 and a grandson was killed in Afghanistan in 2012 while aiding a wounded comrade.


Brian Burton – Capt. (ret.) 2nd Royal Gloucestershire Hussars.


Fishing Max - review September 2014


Gift certificates