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[3 Nov 2019 | No Comment | ]

In this 7th book of the highly acclaimed Grafton Everest Series, our indolent hero, Professor Dr Everest, former lecturer in Lifestyles and Wellbeing at the University of Mangoland, is surprised to find himself President of the newly minted Republic of Australia. He is also concerned when he learns that, due to a drafting error, it is to be an American-style executive presidency. Luckily he manages to avoid any actual work or duties, save heading the newly created Department of Wellbeing, and leaves on a goodwill tour of the United States.
Here, …

Reviews »

[1 Nov 2019 | No Comment | ]

Australian Books
The Dizzying Heights
Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen
Hybrid Publishers: Melbourne.
ISBN No: 978-1-925736-30-4 
pp. 248, $24.99.
 
Review by Neal Price
 
Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen’s previous collaboration Going Out Backwards: A Grafton Everest Adventure was shortlisted for the 2017 Russell Prize for Humour Writing.  The Dizzying Heights now carries the bumbling anti-hero Professor Dr Grafton Everest to new heights and previously unimagined depths.
 
The Dizzying Heights is Fitzgerald and McFadyen’s second novel together. In a post Donald Trump era, it paints a disturbingly contemporaneous view of Australian and American friendship that tips its hat to George Orwell but is a distinctly Antipodean comedy thriller. It’s truly …

Reviews »

[1 Nov 2019 | No Comment | ]

Review by Richard Laidlaw
The Dizzying Heights
Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen
ISBN No: 978-1-925736-30-4
Hybrid Publishing : Melbourne
pp. 248, $24.99.
 
It’s plainly very difficult being a political satirist these days, when the politicians seem to have cornered the market themselves and to have requisitioned all the best scripts, in the national interest, naturally. No matter. Those with the wit and the will to soldier on will scribble regardless. Someone will get a laugh, or a wry smile, or perhaps break down and sob uncontrollably at the hopelessness of it all, and give us all a …

Books »

[29 Oct 2019 | No Comment | ]

‘The Dizzying Heights’

   by Phil Brown

How often do you laugh out loud? Not often I’ll bet. But we need to, it’s good for you, according to ‘Reader’s Digest’. That magazine’s ‘Laughter, The Best Medicine’ is famous.
There was also a bloke called Norman Cousins, an American political journalist, author and professor who famously cured himself of serious illness in the 1960s by taking vitamin C and laughing his head off while watching endless comedy shows. Cousins was portrayed by actor Ed Asner in a 1984 television movie, ‘Anatomy of an Illness’, …

Columns »

[10 Oct 2019 | No Comment | ]

Scott Morrison’s Lowy speech was of historical importance
by ROSS FITZGERALD
Scott Morrison’s recent speech to the Lowy Institute was the most important prime ministerial foreign policy announcement in some years. This is because it acknowledged – for the first time – that we are now living in an era of strategic competition between the United States and China.  Indeed the PM was quite open about living in a new world of great power rivalry. It was a long-overdue recognition of a basic reality that virtually the whole Australian establishment has hitherto chosen …

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[30 Sep 2019 | No Comment | ]

Review by ROSS FITZGERALD
Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution
by Gerard Charles Wilson
Self-published, 2019, 393 pages, $44.95
 
Decades before Tony Abbott, as our 28th prime minister, was challenging the zeitgeist by scrapping the carbon tax, stopping the boats and knighting Prince Philip, he’d been annoying the hell out of the campus left as a student leader, as this fascinating book revels in telling. In Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution, Gerard Wilson sets out to do three things: to claim Abbott as Australia’s leading “Burkean conservative”; to analyse the university counter-culture that …

Columns »

[19 Sep 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Just now, the Morrison government still seems secure. Its narrow but decisive win has shattered an opposition that had thought it was coasting to victory. The Labor Party is about to begin a civil war between green-left ideologues and old-fashioned pragmatists that the ideologues are likely to win, at least in the short-term. Even so, governments are expected to tackle problems, not just to play politics and in a host of areas, the Morrison government confronts practical challenges that it shows little sign of fixing.
The government has no …

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[24 Aug 2019 | No Comment | ]

Sundowner of the Skies: The Story of Oscar Garden, The Forgotten Aviator
By Mary Garden. New Holland, 192pp, $29.95
review by ROSS FITZGERALD
They arrived out of nowhere at sundown and were gone by morning. They called them “sundowners”, these swaggies who once wandered our wide brown land with the green bits around the edge. Their life was hard but there was a certain romance to the notion.

With that in mind The Sun newspaper called aviator Oscar Garden the “Sundowner of the Skies” after he landed on November 4, 1930, at Wyndham aerodrome in Western …

Columns »

[16 Aug 2019 | No Comment | ]

by ROSS FITZGERALD
Australians’ greatest resource is not what’s under the ground but what’s between our ears. That’s so obvious when you think about it. The trouble is we rarely do. We endlessly ponder the challenges to our prosperity and security but take our education systems largely for granted. This even though a good grounding in the core culture, a sound grasp of the “three Rs”, and an unquenchable intellectual curiosity are the essential pre-requisites for our future well-being. If we are to continue to flourish, Australians must be at least …

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[11 Jul 2019 | No Comment | ]

Australian Books
Vengeful pygmies
by ROSS FITZGERALD  
Plots and Prayers: Malcolm Turnbull’s Demise and Scott Morrison’s Ascension 
 by Niki Savva
Scribe, $35.00 (paperback) 408pp
ISBN : 9781925849189
   It says almost everything that needs to be said about Niki Savva’s latest book that its original title was Highway to Hell: The Coup that Destroyed Malcolm Turnbull and Left the Liberals in Ruins.
      Savva denies that the book was rewritten after the election, insisting that just about all she did at that point was compose the final chapter. Quite possibly, she’s telling the truth because the book reads …

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[4 Jul 2019 | No Comment | ]

Before I Forget – Geoffrey Blainey

Publisher: Hamish Hamilton, 2019
ISBN: 9781760890339
RRP: $45

Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
As the Kenny Rogers country song says, you’ve got to know when to hold them and when to fold them. Here Rogers is talking about playing cards as a metaphor for life.
Historian and author Geoffrey Blainey certainly knows when to fold them, although he may have done so too early in the piece. Hence his wryly-titled memoir Before I Forget, tells the story of only the first half of his remarkable and often controversial life.  This captivating book comes to a …