field guide to the kokoda track

Unveiling the Historical Journey: “Field Guide to the Kokoda Track” by Bill James


Australia’s connection to the Kokoda Track is deeply embedded in the historical fabric of the nation. The Kokoda Campaign during the Second World War stands as a testament to the courage and resilience of both Australian and Japanese troops. In the quest to understand this pivotal chapter, Bill James has meticulously crafted a valuable resource – “Field Guide to the Kokoda Track.”

Uncovering the Lost Battlefields

Historical Overview

Bill James, a dedicated historian, has undertaken extensive research to present a comprehensive historical guide to the Kokoda Track. The book not only narrates the events but also delves into the localities of the 1942–43 battles, shedding light on the lesser-known aspects of this significant chapter in Australia’s military history.

Revealing Excerpts from the Past

The book includes telling excerpts from hand-written diaries and memoirs of the men who were actually present in the thick of battle. This personal touch adds depth and authenticity to the narrative, allowing readers to connect with the experiences of those who lived through the challenging wartime conditions.

Essential Features of the Book

Waterproof Trek Map

One of the standout features of this edition is the inclusion of a waterproof trek map. This invaluable aid provides practical assistance for those planning to walk the Kokoda Track, offering a correct identification and description of the localities. Measuring 408 mm x 204 mm, the 2-sided map is an essential tool for trekkers.

Grave and Memorial Information

The book goes beyond the battlefield, including memorial information for the fallen. It pays homage to the brave soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving readers a profound understanding of the human cost of war. This edition is a comprehensive guide not just to the battles but also to the solemn resting places of those who fought.

Practical Interpretation of Historical Information

Bill James has skilfully blended historical facts with a practical interpretation, making this book more than a guide. It is a historical preparation for people planning to explore the Kokoda Track, ensuring that they not only traverse the physical terrain but also understand the history that surrounds them.

Revised Edition: What Sets It Apart

Invaluable Updates

The revised edition by Bill James builds on the success of its predecessor. It includes updates, corrections, and additional information that enhances the overall experience for readers. The author’s commitment to accuracy is evident, making this edition an indispensable resource for those interested in the Kokoda Campaign.

Australians and Japanese Veterans’ Perspectives

Bill James has uncovered a wealth of information with the aid of the fast-thinning ranks of both Australian and Japanese veterans. Their perspectives add a unique layer to the narrative, offering readers insights into the thoughts and experiences of those who participated in this historic campaign.


“Field Guide to the Kokoda Track” by Bill James is more than just a book; it is a journey through time, a bridge connecting the present to a pivotal chapter in Australia’s history. Whether you wish to walk the Kokoda Track, travel through the pages of wartime history, or simply gain a deeper understanding of Australia’s past, this book is essential reading. Bill James has crafted a masterpiece that not only educates but also pays homage to the legacy of those who fought on the Kokoda Track.


Q: What is the book “Field Guide to the Kokoda Track” about?

A: The book is an historical guide to the lost battlefields of Australia’s Kokoda Track, intended to be an essential item for those wishing to learn about the history of the track.

Q: What format is the book available in?

A: The book is available in paperback and includes a waterproof trek map, making it a valuable item for anyone planning a trek along the Kokoda Track.

Q: What can I expect to find in the book?

A: The book includes grave or memorial information, telling excerpts from the hand-written diaries of those who were actually there in the thick of the battle, and correct identification and description of the localities along the track.

Q: Why should I consider the book for my trip preparation?

A: The book provides a wealth of information on the history of Kokoda and is a valuable resource for those wanting to correctly identify and describe the localities along the track.

Q: Who is the author of book and why is this relevant?

A: The book is authored by Bill James, an experienced historian and guide to the lost battlefields of Australia, making this an authoritative item for those interested in the history of the Kokoda Track.

Q: Is the waterproof map included in book durable?

A: Yes, the waterproof map included in the book is durable and designed to withstand the rigors of trekking along the Kokoda Track.

Q: How does book appeal to history enthusiasts?

A: The book appeals to history enthusiasts by providing a comprehensive description of the historical significance of the Kokoda Track and the events that unfolded there during World War II.

Q: What makes book unique compared to other historical guides?

A: The book’s unique feature lies in its inclusion of grave or memorial information and telling excerpts from hand-written diaries, offering a personal and evocative description of the Kokoda Track’s history.

Q: Can the book be used as a standalone resource for trekking the Kokoda Track?

A: Yes, the book is intended to be an essential item for those wishing to prepare for a journey along the Kokoda Track, providing historical context and practical information for trekkers.

Q: How can the book enhance my experience of visiting the battlefields?

A: The book will be of great value in enriching your visit to the Kokoda Track by providing historical context and a deeper understanding of the events that took place there during World War II.

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