About the book

HMAS Sydney's hunt for the German raider Emden.

When the ships of the new Royal Australian Navy made their grand entry into Sydney Harbour in October 1913, a young nation was at peace.

Under a year later Australia had gone to war in what was seen as a noble fight for king, country and Empire. Thousands of young men joined up for the adventure of having ‘a crack at the Kaiser’. And indeed the German threat to Australia was real, and very near – in the Pacific islands to our north, and in the Indian Ocean.

In the opening months of the war, a German raider, Emden, wreaked havoc on the maritime trade of the British Empire. Its battle against the Australian cruiser HMAS Sydney, when it finally came, was short and bloody – an emphatic first victory at sea for the fledgling Royal Australian Navy.

This is the stirring story of the perilous opening months of the Great War and the bloody sea battle that destroyed the Emden in a triumph for Australia that resounded around the world.

In the century since, many writers have been there before Mike Carlton. Most were German, some of them survivors of the battle, others later historians, and they have generally told the story well. British accounts vary in quality, from good to nonsense, and there have been some patchwork American attempts as well. Curiously, there has been very little written from an Australian point of view. This book is – in part – an attempt to remedy that, with new facts and perspectives brought into the light of day.

Book cover of First Victory: 1914
Published by: 
Penguin Random House

About the author

Mike
Carlton

In a working life of more than 50 years, Mike Carlton became one of Australia's best-known media figures. He has been a radio and television news and current affairs reporter, foreign correspondent, radio host and newspaper columnist.

He was an ABC war correspondent in Vietnam in 1967 and 1970, and for three years was the ABC's Bureau Chief in Jakarta. He also reported for the ABC from London, New York and major Asian capitals. In television, he was one of the original reporters on the ABC's groundbreaking This Day Tonight in the 1970s. He also worked for Nine Network News, and A Current Affair

In 1980 Mike turned to talk radio, first at Sydney's 2GB with a top-rating breakfast program, and then for four years in London at Newstalk 97.3FM, where he won a coveted Sony Radio Academy award in 1993 for Britain's best talk breakfast show.  His radio satire on current affairs, Friday News Review, was ‘must listening’ in Australia and the UK.

In television, he reported and hosted Indonesia: A Reporter Returns, a three-part documentary for SBS; he worked on Radio 2UE as a broadcaster for many years and wrote a long-standing column for the Sydney Morning Herald.

Mike has had a life-long passion for naval history and is the author of Cruiser, First Victory and Flagship.

Image of author Mike Carlton