First published in 1993, revised edition published 2005. Both now out of print, but 2005 edition can be ordered from me (see CONTACT ME). Held in 175 libraries worldwide, Minefields and Miniskirts was THE FIRST COMPREHENSIVE PUBLICATION OF THE STORIES OF AUSTRALIAN WOMEN IN THE VIETNAM WAR. I spent two and a half years tracking down and interviewing 50 women from all sides of the war – those who had been in the war zone,as entertainers, nurses, journalists, volunteers and consular/secretarial staff, those whose husbands or sons were military combatants, and those who joined the anti-war movement at home, a group that sometimes overlapped with the emerging women’s liberation movement.
‘Living breathing history – history at its best’, Candida Baker, The Age
‘McHugh tells their stories without judgement and with such compassion that nothing is withheld. The result is as shocking as it is informing.’ Sydney Morning Herald.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: There has also been UNAUTHORISED USE of Minefields and Miniskirts in ‘fictionalised’ contexts. This raises complex issues around intellectual property, moral rights, authorship of oral history and its depiction in literary form. I would be interested in hearing from anyone with experience/views on this matter, which I am currently researching.
a) ‘Minefields and Miniskirts’, 6 x 30mins documentary,ABC Radio National, 1993
25 women veterans of Vietnam describe their experiences.
b) ‘Walking on Eggshells’, 45mins documentary, ABC Radio National, Coming Out Show 1993
Stories of traumatised veterans’ wives.
c) ‘Minefields and Miniskirts’, radio drama, ABC Radio National, Airplay, 2005
Terence O’Connell’s adaptation of my book, also called Minefields and Miniskirts (Currency Press 2004) played to over 50,000 people around Australia in 2004/5. It earned excellent reviews and continues to be a favourite with amateur theatre companies around the nation – most recently at Roo Theatre, Shoalhaven, April 2011.
The play has been set as a text for the new Higher School Certificate subject, Verbatim Theatre. Terence and I were interviewed about the adaptation for a textbook, Verbatim, ed. Paul Brown (Currency Press 2011).
I’ve also written about it in The Perils and Pleasures of Adapting Oral History for the Stage.
4. THE ORAL HISTORY ARCHIVE
Most of the original interviews for Minefields and Miniskirts have been archived, as broadcast-quality audio recordings and transcripts, at the National Library of Australia. They are available for research and/or reproduction, subject to setting out context of use and obtaining written permission from me. Numerous bodies, from the Australian Department of Veterans’ Affairs to educational publications, have cited excerpts.
5. The BOOK CLUB
Bookish Book Club, launched at Wollongong Art Gallery in August 2011, chose Minefields and Miniskirts as their inaugural title. I gave a reading at the well attended event, launched by Wollongong MP Sharon Bird. Photo gallery on Facebook.
6. The TV DRAMA
Have written treatment for 8 x 60mins series. More anon!