Reviews »

[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 …

Columns »

[4 May 2022 | No Comment | 54 views ]

Ross Fitzgerald

The well-funded Monique Ryan who is standing against Josh Frydenberg in the Melbourne seat of Kooyong is an utterly fake Independent. Despite securing more than $1 million in funding primarily from Climate 200 supremo Simon Holmes a Court, Dr Ryan is clearly a hard left candidate. She certainly has much more in common with the Labor Party and the Greens than the Liberals. Dr Ryan has every right to be so aligned but she shouldn’t be angry or embarrassed when she’s called out on this important fact. As it …

Columns »

[27 Apr 2022 | No Comment | 45 views ]

Ross Fitzgerald 
Where I regularly find solace is at meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, which even though I’m now 52 years sober (i.e. free of alcohol and other drugs),  I still attend two or three times a week.

It is especially at my home AA group at South Sydney, where I am known as ‘Redfern Ross’, that I feel a sense of peace and serenity and usefulness. As I often say, ‘You don’t have to like me, but I’m a remarkable example of how AA can transform a person who was so damaged …

Columns »

[25 Apr 2022 | No Comment | 62 views ]

Political Marriages That Worked … and Didn’t

                                      BY PROFESSOR ROSS FITZGERALD

I have only ever made two political predictions. The first concerns Peter Beattie, when he was a beleaguered Labor backbencher in Queensland’s one-house parliament. I then predicted that Beattie would become Premier of the Sunshine State. And so he did, and a long-serving and undefeated premier at that.
The second concerns current federal Treasurer, Josh Frydenberg. Last year I predicted that, eventually, Frydenberg …

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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 …

Columns »

[25 Mar 2022 | No Comment | 37 views ]

 Contrasting Conservatives: Wilfred Kent Hughes and Keith Feiling

   by ROSS FITZGERALD and STEPHEN HOLT
Notoriously stubborn and abrasive, strongly anti-communist and for a time pro-fascist, Sir Wilfred Kent Hughes (1895 – 1970) had a long career in state and federal politics, most notably as a minister under Liberal Prime Minister, Robert Menzies. As an athlete and organiser, Kent Hughes also had a long-standing involvement with the Olympic movement. At the 1920 Antwerp Olympics he represented Australia in hurdling, and in 1956 he helped organise the Melbourne Olympics. 
   Noted for his conservative interpretation of the past …

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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 …

Columns »

[1 Mar 2022 | No Comment | 62 views ]

by Ross Fitzgerald & Ian McFadyen
Ross Fitzgerald writes: 
One of my favourite stories concerns two Liberal Party politicians, both of whom were later knighted. One of them was arguably Australia’s most hopeless and devious prime minister, William (“Billy”) McMahon. He was in office from March 1971 until December 1972, when the coalition lost office to Labor under Gough Whitlam – who had famously described McMahon as “Tiberius with a telephone.” The second was James (“Jim”) Killen, who liked more than an odd beer on a hot day and who had served …