Insightful and at times hilarious, Tom Scott explores the complex character of Charles Upham VC and Bar. He endeavours to establish why he was such a single minded, ferociously determined soldier.  Scott details the forces that formed Upham’s attitudes and values in particular key family influences and the impact of time at boarding school. He constructs a strong argument to support his hypothesis that as a result of experiences Charles Upham was motivated by a hatred of injustice and bullying.

Scott travels to North Africa and Europe in the footsteps of Upham providing some very reflective and hilarious moments.

Importantly Scott offers an insight into the post war life of Upham – his roles as father, husband, farmer, and neighbour. The opportunity to interview family members and those who knew Upham in later life adds further insight.

The biography offers fresh perspectives on our most famous war hero. It goes a long way to understanding the man and what made him tick. – Peter Snowdon

Scott tries to define Upham and concludes he was not a psychopath. In the context of the times, Upham was a soldier doing his job, who did it well. He was  a warrior and if it weren’t for people like  him, WWII would have had a different outcome.

The irony is he is portrayed as anti-bullying and anti-tyranny but post-war episodes made me wonder if his toughness turned into meanness. Scott could have asked more questions of his other daughters about their father.

Still, Upham is our greatest war hero and the only soldier to win two VCs. When the Queen dies it is his face which should replace hers on our $20 note. – Terry Brosnahan.