Memoir/Biography

Memoir/Biography

Take Risks by John Marsden

Reviewed by Gerard Healy What a fascinating, controversial and notable memoir/political manifesto by John Marsden, the well-known Australian author of the Tomorrow When the War Began series. In this book he looks back over his own schooling, his long teaching and writing careers and his establishment of two independent schools in country Victoria. Quite a

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Memoir/Biography

Nellie by Robert Wainwright

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke Robert Wainwright is a veteran journalist who has now written fourteen books. As has been his custom, he focusses on the people behind the major news of the day. In this case, it is a time over 140 years ago. There has been much written about the career of ‘the nightingale’,

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Memoir/Biography

Borges and Me by Jay Parini

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend “How on earth had I landed in bed with an elderly, loquacious blind man in a remote village in the Scottish Highlands?” A famous blind Argentinean writer, an American student, driving an old Morris Minor, touring the Scottish Highlands. Interesting plot.  But this narrative is more biography than fiction. The student

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Memoir/Biography

A Historian Against the Current by Don Longo

Reviewed by E. B. Heath ‘… all history is contemporary history … all serious study of the past is informed by the problems of the historian’s own time.’ Benedetto Croce On reading the prologue in Don Longo’s biography of Austin Gough, it occurred that Longo was being dramatic in an effort to incite readers’ curiosity.

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Memoir/Biography

A Bloody Good Rant by Thomas Keneally

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Tom Keneally – a man whose sallies have launched a thousand laughs, whose writing is read by multitudes with fascinated absorption, whose satire has seared the dignities of politicians uncounted – has written another book. Its name? A Bloody Good Rant! The eighty-five-year-old rooster is no Spring chicken, but his crowing

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Memoir/Biography

Larrimah by Caroline Graham and Kylie Stevenson

Reviewed by Ian Lipke When I first read the story of Larrimah, I formed the opinion that once again someone had taken the stereotypical characters of a bush town and attempted to cash in on the gullible American market. Present in large number were the old standbys: drunken men and women in sun-suffused conditions that

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Memoir/Biography

Living I Was Your Plague by Lyndal Roper

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Lutheranism retains more than respectably large congregations five hundred years after Martin Luther and his followers founded the movement. Yet the Luther name has always carried some sort of atmosphere, not as specific as a slur, but rather a feeling of grubbiness somehow. This leaves Luther a man of great interest.

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Memoir/Biography

Malachy by Dominic Frawley

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Malachy is very difficult to read at times, as a reader’s tears blur the text which beautifully relates the birth and subsequent traumas baby Malachy and his family endured. Impossible not to be moved by the shock of realising that the little newborn is not facing a joyous childhood, carefree and

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Memoir/Biography

The Brumby Wars by Anthony Sharwood

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Down around the Snowy ‘where the pine-clad ridges raise/ their torn and rugged battlements on high’ there’s a barney going on, and it’s a beauty. No confinement to angry words but rather ‘a fisticuffs at dawn’ sort of brawling. And the reason for all this ill-will remains blithely ignorant of all

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Memoir/Biography

The Brilliant Boy by Gideon Haigh

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve As is the case with many brilliant men, Herbert Vere Evatt (1894-1965) was a multi-faceted character. Scholastically brilliant, he was awarded J.D. (Juris Doctor) at a young age and, at 35, was a judge of the High Court, and henceforth known as ‘Doc’ Evatt. He was erudite and widely read which

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Memoir/Biography

Daughter of the River Country by Dianne O’Brien

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve The loss of her identity and its roots in her cultural heritage did not prevent Dianne O’Brien from rising above the trauma of her early years of life. She has become highly regarded for her work with struggling and disadvantaged people. Dianne, and those like her, hold the key to our

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Memoir/Biography

Gun to the Head by Keith Banks

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The title of this book would lead the reader to assume that, given the career of Keith Banks, the reference is to the dangerous work he assumed during his career, that he is referring literally to some gangster holding a gun to his head and threatening to shoot him. There is

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Memoir/Biography

The Countess from Kirribilli by Joyce Morgan

Reviewed by Antonella Townsend Reading The Countess from Kirribilli is akin to falling into a rabbit hole situated within an elegantly landscaped garden, overlooking Sydney Harbour. The ‘fall’, through said rabbit hole, takes the form of a three-month voyage, after which readers and three-year-old Mary Annette Beauchamp step from La Hogue onto English soil in

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Memoir/Biography

Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War Tragedy by Anne Sebba

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Ethel Rosenberg’s tragic life highlights a dark phase in post-war America. Its political and legal world was dominated by bigotry and fear, stoked by McCarthyism and the looming power of Hoover, head of the FBI. The devastation of the atom bomb, the growing threat of Russia, then Mao’s communism gripping China,

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Memoir/Biography

Life as Art by Della Rowley and Lynn Buchanan [eds]

Reviewed by Ian Lipke I must admit that until now I had never heard the name Hazel Rowley. I did not know that I had been missing the works of a writer of consummate prose. Here I distinguish, as I’m sure the editors do, between writing biographies and biographical writing. The first suggests writers researching,

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