Weekend Round-Up 2007 #33

The Age

According to Peter Craven, Craig Sherborne is creating a modern Australian classic with his memoirs. He reviews the second volume, Muck, this week. "A couple of years ago, Craig Sherborne's Hoi Polloi established itself overnight as a classic Australian memoir. Now we have the second volume of his all but catastrophic comic nightmare of an upbringing and its originality, its candour and its power of representation put it on par with its startling predecessor...this is an extraordinary book, full of savagery and pathos and the screed and cackle as well as the sadness of any young life in the midst of mad-seeming adults who constitute the world."

The Australian

Peter Stanley is a bit wary of Monash: The Outsider Who Won a War by Roland Perry. Writing a review of the book while walking around the cemetries and on the Somme, he's not in the mood to pull any punches: "Let's get two things straight: Monash was no outsider and he didn't win a war...The Monash legend began with Monash's own books. Perry uncritically fails to show he was a ruthless and ambitious micro-manager who gained results but not affection...Perry's book is far, far too long [596pp], and it's unbalanced and unconvincing."

Peter Corris is better pleased with The Vietnam Years: From the Jungle to the Australian Suburbs by Michael Caulfield: "Caulfield has produced a strong, tough-minded book, well constructed and compellingly written."

The Sydney Morning Herald

Hugh Mackay is one of Australia's most influential social commentators. You may not always agree with what he says, but you have to admit he's at least done his research. His latest book, Advance Australia...Where?, is reviewed by Roy Williams: "The subject of this fascinating book is the radical change that Australia has undergone in the last
quarter-century...The picture he paints is troubling. There has been an ugly skewing of our political, communal and personal priorities." Yes, Hugh, got that. Any hope on the horizon? Williams's view "is that Australia's one great national achievement of the late 20th century has been the creation of a multicultural society. Yet, as Mackay shows, it has been steadily undermined since the mid-1990s by manifestations of bigotry. Mackay points to an emerging tendency to scapegoat the marginalised and demand the quick fix." Giving with one hand, and taking away with the other. "There are, Mackay suggests, some grounds for hope. Australians are showing increased interest in religion and
spirituality." How you can those two sentences together beats me. It's not a direction I'd like to see any country take.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 25, 2007 10:00 PM.

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