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[1 Dec 2022 | No Comment | 6 views ]

Louis Nowra, Sydney: A Biography
NewSouth Publishing, Sydney, ISBN: 9781742235927
pp 498, $39.99.
Reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
  As is the case with one of my favourite Australian writers and playwrights, Louis Nowra, Sydney is also my adopted city.
Although from 1977 to the 1990s I worked in Brisbane, like Nowra, I was born and educated in Melbourne. I too have fallen in love with the beguiling city of Sydney.
Born in December 1950, Nowra has for many years resided on the border between Kings Cross and Woolloomooloo, and is married to his third wife, the …

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[30 Nov 2022 | No Comment | 6 views ]

My Last Drink, 32 Stories of Recovering Alcoholics
Edited by Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price
Connor Court, 2022, 189 pages, $29.95
Reviewed by Matthew White
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 Ideaidolatry. Attention, advertisement, writers’ festivals, prizes, perhaps even honours, …

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[17 Nov 2022 | No Comment | 9 views ]

AUSTRALIAN BOOKS

MY LAST DRINK
Reviewed by Rocco Loiacono
Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price (eds)
My Last Drink: 32 stories of recovering alcoholics
Connor Court, 2022, 190 pages, $29.95
In a recent interview with Piers Morgan, Dr Jordan Peterson remarked: “It’s really something to see, constantly, how many people are dying for lack of an encouraging word. And how easy it is to provide that if you’re careful.” My Last Drink –an anthology of highly personal and inspiring stories, edited by Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price – demonstrates how important an encouraging word can be in …

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[8 Oct 2022 | No Comment | 18 views ]

Who doesn’t love a bird book?

Who doesn’t love a bird book?

A new book uncovers some of the secrets to the sometimes strange behaviour of our feathered friends writes ROSS FITZGERALD

WHY DO BIRDS DO THAT?
By Grainne Cleary
Allen & Unwin, Nonfiction
270pp, $34.99
Why do some birds have colourful feathers while others do not? Why do they attack their own reflections? Why do they have three eyelids?Why do they build nests? Why do baby kookaburras kill their siblings?
Grainne Cleary, inWhy Do Birds Do That?seeks to answer these, and many other commonly asked questions about …

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[4 Aug 2022 | No Comment | 46 views ]

The Scrap Iron Flotilla : Five Valiant Destroyers and the Australian War in the Mediterranea
by Mike Carlton
William Heinemann Australia, 448pp, $34.99
ROSS FITZGERALD
They may have been the pride of Australia but the Nazi’s infamous propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels referred to them as a load of scrap iron.
Yet by the middle of 1940, all five Australian ships sent to bolster the British fleet were effectively escorting Allied supply convoys and troops, bombarding enemy coasts, and successfully hunting U-boats.
The story of HMAS Vendetta, Vampire, Voyager, Stuart and Waterhen is told in Mike Carlton’s …

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[11 Jul 2022 | No Comment | 40 views ]

Review by ROSS FITZGERALD
Phillip Deery
SPIES and SPARROWS:
ASIO AND THE COLD WAR
Melbourne University Press
2022, pp 270, pb $34.99
ISBN 9780522878301
How do you recognize a spy? We’ve all watched so many spy thrillers that we probably think we know. And the point that sometimes comes across in espionage fiction on the page and the screen is that it’s sometimes hard to tell who a spook is and who isn’t.
A case in point in Professor Philip Deery’s compelling book Spies and Sparrows is a white-haired, softly spoken, suburban Adelaide housewife, Anne Neill.
In the 1950s …

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[6 Jul 2022 | No Comment | 26 views ]

Warts-and-all memoir of a wartime hell
Members of the 39th battalion parade after weeks of fighting in dense jungle during the Kokoda campaign.
Ross Fitzgerald
The Australian, June 25, 2022
The name Kokoda stirs up all sorts of emotions and is a touchstone of Australian war history. The bravery and sacrifice of the Diggers who held back the Japanese on the Kokoda Track in World War II is still the stuff of legend.
But what was it really like for the soldiers fighting in that hell of jungle and mud? The best way to find …

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[11 May 2022 | One Comment | 95 views ]

  

Elizabeth Tynan
The Secret of Emu Field:
Britain’s forgotten atomic tests in Australia
NewSouth Books 
2022, pp 362, pb $34.99
ISBN 9781742236957

Reviewed by ROSS FITZGERALD
 So you think you know the story of Britain’s notorious atomic tests in Australia. In that respect, the name of Maralinga is infamous. Many readers will have heard about that shameful episode. But there’s another story that is lesser known. And author Elizabeth Tynan tells that tale in The Secret of Emu Field.
Dedicated to “everyone who was harmed by British atomic tests in Australia”, this book revealshow and why, “under pressure from his gung-ho …

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[7 Apr 2022 | No Comment | 42 views ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Deconstructing ScoMo : Critical reflections on Australia’s 30th Prime Minister
by Rocco Loiacono & Augusto Zimmermann
Locke Press, $29.95,166 pages
ISBN: 978-1-922717-56-6, 
   He’s still smiling but Scott Morrison might not be after reading this revealing book. If he reads it that is. If I were him, I might not. However, Rocco Loiacono and Augusto Zimmermann’s analysis of Australia’s now deeply unpopular Prime Minister makes fascinating and instructive reading and couldn’t be more timely.
   In Deconstructing ScoMo,  the authors – both of whom hail from Western Australia – liken Scott Morrison to a ‘windsock’ that we often …

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[28 Mar 2022 | No Comment | 38 views ]

Historian, avid novelist and political commentator Ross Fitzgerald AM has his fingers and toes crossed that life will soon imitate art in the Russia-Ukraine war.
The emeritus professor at Brisbane’s Griffith University has co-written a series of political satires with Ian McFadyen, of TV’s Comedy Company fame.
The Lowest Depths, released late last year, is the eighth in the series, which centres around anti-hero Grafton Everest.
The plot involves – spoiler alert –dictatorial President Vladimir Putrid being assassinated.
As Fitzgerald told Strewth: “My favourite teacher at Melbourne High School Norton Hobson (who is the basis for Mr Horton – the …

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[2 Mar 2022 | No Comment | 49 views ]

CBD loves a multi-hyphenate. And none more so than Ross Andrew Fitzgerald AM, the academic, historian, novelist, secularist and political commentator.
Fitzgerald, an emeritus professor in history and politics at Griffith University, even though he lives in Redfern, Sydney, is the author and co-author of 43 books. His latest is one of a series of political/sexual satires about his corpulent anti-hero Grafton Everest, co-written with Ian McFadyen, of TV series Comedy Company fame.
The latest novel The Lowest Depths, released late last year, is set in Australia and Russia. During the course …