The fascinating true story of Charles Bavier, a European born and raised in Japan during the most tumultuous decades of the 20th century.
Thirty years ago when Hamish McDonald was Asia Correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald in Japan, he was given a box of papers by a departing journalist. The box contained a large manuscript and photographs that detailed the amazing life of Charles Bavier. Born in Japan in the late 1800s, the illegitimate son of a Swiss businessman, Charles was raised by his father’s Japanese mistress. By the early 1900s, as turmoil builds with Russia and suspicion of foreigners increases, Charles’ life in Japan becomes untenable.
Over the following decades, Bavier fights with the revolutionaries in China, enlists in the Australian army and survives Gallipoli, becomes an agent for British Secret Service in Singapore and the Australian intelligence service in the Second World War. He was a man of two cultures and two countries – and yet claimed by neither.
A War of Words is the account of the extraordinary life of Charles Bavier, based on his own diaries and three decades of research by Hamish McDonald.