Memoir/Biography

Memoir/Biography

Stalin: Passage to Revolution by Ronald Grigor Suny

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Suny’s monumental work is not the first to attempt to tell the story of how a young seminarian became the horrific butcher who left this world in 1953. Such misbegotten luminaries as Leon Trotsky and Isaac Deutscher made attempts that are viewed with some degree of askance today. Robert Tucker made

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Memoir/Biography

Mosul by Ben Mckelvey

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders To read Mosul is to take a journey into another world. In fact, it is several worlds that are connected by terrorism and war. At once secret, brutal, tragic, and chaotic, the worlds are populated by heroes and villains – most of whom are troubled individuals with axes to grind and

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Memoir/Biography

Son of the Brush by Tim Olsen

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Inspiration guided the person who coined the title of this memoir. Son of the Brush allows the writer to give the reading public information about the writer’s famous father – his virtues and vices, likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses while making available information about himself, one of the recognized business

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Memoir/Biography

Courage Under Fire by Daniel Keighran VC

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Dan Keighran’s book contains one of those stories that we treasure, one we keep coming back to when we think that life is tough. It is the story of a little boy who slept in the dirt but grew to be a man of principle to whom service to others was

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Memoir/Biography

Max by Alex Miller

Reviewed by Rod McLary In his previous book The Passage of Love, Alex Miller wrote a fictionalised memoir.  In that book, he speaks of Martin Bloch – a close friend who encouraged him in his writing.  The Passage of Love was reviewed in these pages in April 2018. The fictionalised Martin Bloch in the previous

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Memoir/Biography

Out of Copley Street by Geoff Goodfellow

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Out of Copley Street is a collection of short stories featuring the working-class boyhood of Geoff Goodfellow. He is better known for his poetry giving voice to the anger of the disenfranchised. He usually presented his poetry on building sites, in factories and in prisons. The book is dedicated to one

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Memoir/Biography

Agent Sonya by Ben Macintyre

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It doesn’t happen often, but just occasionally, with no warning whatsoever, along comes a book in an unprepossessing cover, that just glows with quality. It does not dazzle; it begins in a very ordinary way but, within a few pages, you know you will not put it down until the very

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Memoir/Biography

On Seamus Heaney by R. F. Foster

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Writing with the restraint of the professional academic but with all the vim of a youthful enthusiast, R. F. Foster has published On Seamus Heaney, his take on the life and writings of one of Ireland’s famous poets. A deep knowledge of Irish literature and the Irish people and their history

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Memoir/Biography

Pendragon by Anne Black

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Early colonial Australia featured a conglomeration of immigrants seeking a new life. One significant settler was Pendragon, the pen name of George Isaacs.  With a genial personality and an enthusiasm for life, he never seemed to lose his optimistic outlook, although he faced continuing hardship in both Adelaide and Melbourne. Adverse

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Memoir/Biography

Heartache & Birdsong by Sam Bloom

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve From a heartache, deep and near unbearable, to the carefree beauty of birdsong, the road crawled along by Sam Bloom is an unforgettable experience she shares with her readers.  The horror of her predicament, after a catastrophic accident on a family holiday in Thailand, is graphically and movingly conveyed in her

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Memoir/Biography

Paul Kelly by Stuart Coupe

Reviewed by Rod McLary I came to this biography of Paul Kelly knowing only a little about his music – as in From Little Things Big Things Grow – and even less about the man.  The subtitle of the biography is ‘The man, the music and the life in between’ but it doesn’t entirely meet

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Memoir/Biography

The Last Navigator by Paul Goodwin

Reviewed by Rod McLary Gordon Goodwin – the last navigator of the title and father to the author – was born in 1918 in Queensland.  His own father Ralph saw his three children ‘as mere chattels to give him the lifestyle he deserved’ [2] and treated them as ‘Indian coolies’ [2] with heavy use of

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Memoir/Biography

Enid by Robert Wainwright

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Enid, born in Australia’s Hunter Valley, one of seven children, became one of the most famous hostesses of the early twentieth century.  At her luxurious villa – La Fiorentina – on the French Riviera, an eclectic guest list graced its fabulous grounds.  Architects, movie stars, artists and politicians, aristocrats and businessmen,

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Memoir/Biography

The Insider by Christopher Pyne

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It was with a great deal of anticipation that I sat down to read Christopher Pyne’s book. Here was the consummate politician, the Leader of Government Business in the House of Representatives, a man with twenty-five years of experiencing the political realm, the hothouse that is the Lower Chamber. The book

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Memoir/Biography

The Lost Boy by Ayik Chut Deng [with Craig Henderson]

Reviewed by Ian Lipke From Vintage Books, an arm of Penguin Random House Australia, comes the story of a Sudanese man Ayik Chut Deng, a former child soldier, who found his way to Australia and settled in Toowoomba, Queensland. Bearing resemblances to Songs of a War Boy by Deng Thiak Adut (Hachette Australia, 2016), that

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