The photographs look absolutely ravishing worthy of any
award that might have come out of the Dunedin Photographic Society, a situation which
surely must make Struan MacGibbon very happy in heaven! This book is a labour of
love and a highly successful attempt to portray the man and his feelings with his own
pictures and words. It also fills an important gap in our cultural heritage. As such I
cannot recommend it too highly.
William Main, NZ Journal of Photography
MacGibbon was a genuinely curious and surprisngly well informed tourist, as
well as being an able photographer with a keen eye...these images attain a documentary
incisiveness that brings to mind the homefront photographs of John Pascoe.
Gerald Barnett, NZ Listener, 23 February 2002
Struan's War" is a book of gorgeous photos and text compiled by New
Zealand Division gunner Struan MacGibbon in North Africa and the Middle East during World
War II. It's not simply a chronicle of war and destruction. Large sections are devoted to
recreation, troop entertainment, and sightseeing. MacGibbon's photos make excellent Web
fodder. On paper, they must be spectacular...an amazingly tasty sample.
Netsurfer Digest, 29 November 2001
A keen and intelligent observer and a first rate talent with a camera, Gunner
Struan MacGibbon kept a fascinating record of the war. His meticulously kept diary and
superb photographs have been assembled in an attractive and different history that will
ring bells for every Kiwi ranker who served in the Middle East. The text...is a rare and
valuable sociology of military life in the ranks in the desert.
Roy Burke, Waikato Times
New Zealand soldiers fighting during World War II were forbidden from keeping
diaries and taking photographs. Luckily for posterity, Struan MacGibbon broke both rules.
David Famularo, The Dominion
I gave the book to Dad [a veteran of the Desert War] last night. He could not
tear himself away and last seen was still bent over it muttering, this is really
What a clever idea to make it like a photo album. You
have every reason to be very proud of a fine publication, and an historically
important one at that.
Christine French, Invercargill, NZ
...a marvellous evocation...an amazing blow by blow account. The photographs
are really professional, and some of his subjects move outside the area we're used to
seeing from the official photographers.
Jim Sullivan, Sounds Historical, National Radio
Letters from the Battlefield and Struan's War, in different ways, both provide
snapshots of the experiences of ordinary soldiers that don't appear in the accounts of
grand plans and strategic battles. As such, both have a ring of authenticity about them.
For those who lived through them, the wars were life-changing experiences. From these two
books, we can glean some insight into the nature of that change. Struan's War...is
fascinating stuff...provides a glimpse of one man's war that is so personal it almost has
you looking over your shoulder to make sure no one is watching. These are two really well
produced compilations of useful primary sources...worthy additions to the bookshelf of
anyone interested in the New Zealanders' war experience.
Mark Sheehan, The Evening Post
When Gore High School old boy Struan MacGibbon sailed
off on his big OE in 1941, he was determined to record the experience. And record it he
did, with extreme diligence and a high degree of skill."
Gore High School Ex-pupils Association Newsletter