Joy Damousi,The Humanitarians: Child War Refugees and Australian Humanitarianism in a Transnational World, 1919-1975Cambridge University Press, ISBN 978-1-108-83390-5Nonfiction, pp 347, $125.Reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALDFirst published by Cambridge University Press in 2022, this important but extremely expensive publication spans six decades from the formation in Australia in 1919 of the Save the Children Fund to our humanitarian interventions during the controversial war in Vietnam.Written by Professor Joy Damousi, Dean of Arts at the Australian Catholic University, The Humanitarians could be of considerable interest to some readers of The Weekend Australian. Its …
AUSTRALIAN BOOKSPolitical Lives: Australian Prime Ministers and their Biographers by Chris WallaceUNSW Press,2023, ISBN 9781742237497, pp 314, pb $39.99.
eviewed by ROSS FITZGERALDHistorian, Chris Wallace, who currently holds a professorship at the Faculty of Business, Government and Law at the University of Canberra, rightly argues that writing biographies of prime ministers is a unique form of political intervention.Formerly a longstanding member of the Canberra Press Gallery, Wallace who was writing a biography of then prime minister Julia Gillard, did something unusual. In 2011 she cancelled her contract with Allen & Unwin, …
GRAFTON EVEREST MEETS THE TRANS-SIBERIAN RAILWAYThe Lowest Depths by Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyenHybrid Publishers, Melbourne 2021RRP: $24.99 (pb)Reviewed by Alan GregoryGraham Green’s term “An Entertainment”, probably best sums up this beautifully produced book.The Lowest Depths is a very good read, with equal elements of a socio-politico farce and of a spy thriller, plus a touch of sci-fi!As with its predecessor, The Dizzying Heights, this book featuring Dr Professor Grafton Everest is written by two Melbourne High School old boys – Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen. Ross Fitzgerald AM is …
COLD WAR AND ITS SECRETS
THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE FIVE EYES: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPY NETWORK
By Richard Kerbaj.
Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
COLD WAR AND ITS SECRETSThe Sydney Institute Review, 29 March 2023, Issue 25THE SECRET HISTORY OF THE FIVE EYES: THE UNTOLD STORY OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPY NETWORKBy Richard Kerbaj.Blink PublishingRRP $34.99Reviewed by Ross FitzgeraldRecently released in the United Kingdom, Richard Kerbaj’s, ‘The Secret History of The Five Eyes: The untold story of the international spy network’ is a fascinating account of the Western world’s most powerful, …
What will we do without religion?
The Saviour Syndrome: Searching for Hope and Meaning in an Age of Unbelief
Sutherland House: Toronto
pp 264, $ 29.99
reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
The Saviour Syndromeposes a crucial question, especially for people searching for hope in their lives: “What can replace religion?”
Another, related question might be: “Who do we look up to now?”
These questions are relevant to those who believe that the message of Jesus is obsolete or eclipsed. The author, John Carroll, maintains that humans are, by their nature, “saviour-seeking”. As he puts it, a saviour …
One does tire of celebrity reprobates. A fast way to attract attention and build a “profile” in our lazy society is to write about one’s appalling behaviour towards others. Its acceptability enables a form of confession and avoidance, and, if properly promoted and garnished with a veneer of bohemianism, it is more like confession and appointment to the firmament of New Idea idolatry. Attention, advertisement, writers’ festivals, prizes, perhaps even honours, await. The best way of avoiding the consequences of victimising others is to become a victim yourself. The people on the …
Deep dive into complex legacies of RAMSI
Helpem Fren: Australia and the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands 2003-2017
By Michael Wesley
Melbourne University Press
310pp, Pb, $40.00
reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
Australia is currently confronting our most serious challenges in the Pacific for seventy years.
In 2023 Prime minister Anthony Albanese and Foreign Minister Penny Wong began expanding Australia’s strategic and economic presence in one of our closest neighbours, Solomon Islands
Australia’s current initiatives in Solomon Islands are happening as, after a 30-year absence, America recently opened a permanent embassy in Honiara, in an attempt to counter …
THE YOUNG MENZIES
Success, Failure, Resilience 1894–1942
edited by Zachary Gorman.
Melbourne University Press, 2022
224 pages, $49.95
After a brilliant career at the Melbourne bar in the 1920s and a period as Victoria’s Attorney-General, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies eventually became the most towering federal parliamentarian ever seen in Australian politics. But up to now, few books, even including Allan Martin’s magisterial two-volume biography, published in 1993 and 1999 respectively, have dealt in any length or clarity with Menzies childhood, personality, and early adulthood.
The Young Menzies: Success, Failure, …
Professor Ross Fitzgerald’s speech at the launch of My Last Drink: 32 Stories of Recovering Alcoholics,$29.95, published by Connor Court in Brisbane. My Last Drink is also available from Amazon and Booktopia.
The Olsen Gallery, Woollahra, Sydney, 6pm Tuesday 21 February 2023.
It’s very good to be here tonight, Tim. Indeed, at my age it’s very good to be anywhere!
My Last Drink: 32 Stories of Recovering Alcoholics is edited by me and my long-term buddy, Neal Price, who is with us from Tasmania. We are 53 and 39 years sober respectively. Our third speaker is Gail …
My Last Drink
Edited by Ross Fitzgerald & Neal Price, Connor Court, $29.95
Reviewed by Steven Carroll
A common thread running through these 32 confessions of recovering alcoholics is that they had to reach rock bottom before taking decisive action in rehab and/or AA. Interestingly, their memories of their last drinks vary from the vivid to the vague.
For Ross Fitzgerald it’s crystal clear – he had his last drink in the Melbourne pub where, as a schoolboy, he’d had his first. For Gail, who hid her drinking from most people (including her young …
Grog bans don’t work but the laissez faire is killing us
A former alcoholic looks at possible solutions for Alice Springs’ devastating surge in violence
The longstanding problems resulting from high-risk drinking by a significant minority of First Nations Australians is now not only extremely important but very urgent. But, as debates about the current acute alcohol problems in crime-ridden Alice Springs and elsewhere in the Northern Territory make clear, it’s also very complex.
People often use mood-altering drugs, including alcohol, to dull the terrible pain of childhood memories or current awful …