ABBEY'S CHOICE AUGUST 2016
----- When he died in 1992 Brett Whiteley left behind decades of ceaseless activity: some works bound to a particular place or time, others that are masterpieces of light and line.
Whiteley had arrived in Europe in 1960 determined to make an impression. Before long he was the youngest artist to have work acquired by the Tate. With his wife, Wendy, and daughter, Arkie, Whiteley then immersed himself in bohemian New York. But within two years he fled, having failed to break through.
Back in Sydney, he soon became Australia's most celebrated artist. He won the Archibald, Wynne and Sulman prizes in the same year:his prices soared, as did his fame. Among his friends were Francis Bacon and Patrick White, Billy Connolly and Dire Straits. Yet addiction was taking its toll: Whiteley struggled in vain to separate his talent from his disease, and an inglorious end approached.
Written with unprecedented behind-the-scenes access, and handsomely illustrated with classic Whiteley artworks, rare notebook sketches and candid family photos, this dazzling biography reveals for the first time the full portrait of a mercurial artist.
ABBEY'S CHOICE AUGUST 2016
----- The extraordinary story of how a devoted nun became an equally devoted campaigner for justice - as a successful criminal defence lawyer.
When Yvonne Benedicta Swift entered the Sacre Coeur convent in Rose Bay in 1938, she was determined to dedicate herself to religious life. But in the 1970s she did something unusual: retrained as a lawyer, established her own practice and defended some of Sydney's most notorious criminals.
In her shift to the law, 'Swifty', as she was known, left behind an impressive career as principal of the Rose Bay School of the Sacred Heart, and later Sancta Sophia College at the University of Sydney, Australia. In her legal practice she took on clients who she believed had been wronged, especially by the legal system itself. Known for her plain-speaking approach and her deeply compassionate outlook, Swifty went on to represent the likes of convicted murderers Douglas Rendell and Arthur Loveday, underworld figure Bill Bayeh, and Bandidos gang members for everything from traffic offences to murder.
The story of this extraordinary women, who treated everyone from bishops to bikies equally, is a truly unusual and remarkable one.
'Against anything I had ever been told was possible, I was turning white. On the surface of my skin, a miracle was quietly brewing . . .'
Suburban Australia. Sweltering heat. Three bedroom blonde-brick. Family of five. Beat-up Ford Falcon. Vegemite on toast. Maxine Beneba Clarke's life is just like all the other Aussie kids on her street.
Except for this one, glaring, inescapably obvious thing.
From one of Australia's most exciting writers, and the author of the multi-award-winning FOREIGN SOIL, comes THE HATE RACE: a powerful, funny, and at times devastating memoir about growing up black in white middle-class Australia.
Stunning trade paperback edition of Grantlee Kieza's bestselling biography of Australia's greatest general It's December 1918 and the world war is over. General Sir John Monash attends a glittering banquet to dine with the King of England and the likes of Woodrow Wilson, Winston Churchill and Rudyard Kipling. Just four months earlier, the commander of the Australian Corps had been knighted in a battlefield, a long way from the streets of Melbourne where this son of a long line of Polish rabbis had grown up. Field Marshal Montgomery would declare decades later that Monash was the best general to serve on the Western Front. How had this notorious ladies' man, who harboured private thoughts about the futility of war and had never fired a shot in anger, come to be feted by the British establishment as well as his countrymen back home? In this essential biography of a most unlikely folk hero, Grantlee Kieza paints a lively portrait of an outsider who shaped modern Australia through his energy, drive and ambition, his military brilliance and his vision.
For more than thirty years Nicholas Lee was a cameraman on 60 Minutes, Australia's most respected and watched current affairs program, alongside Ray Martin, George Negus, Ian Leslie, Richard Carleton, Mike Munro, Jennifer Byrne, Liz Hayes and Tara Brown, among others. All This in 60 Minutes is the revealing and often hilarious memoir of his time with the show - of the crazy days of unlimited expense accounts, of late nights and bleary mornings, the fun and fear on the road, and in the refugee camps and war zones. It goes inside the IRA, Idi Amin's torture cells, and into palaces and mud huts. It recounts unforgettable trips on B-52s, ultra-lights and the Orient Express. And it takes you behind the interviews with the famous and infamous - from presidents, rock stars, despots and kings, to pygmies and manic, charismatic gurus... The result is a book that is compelling, funny and utterly eye-opening.
The moving personal story behind the very public political face of Labor's Anthony Albanese, written with the cooperation of Albo.
As much a window on the recent turbulent years of politics – from the man who was often in the middle of the room where everything was happening, and who became the Deputy Prime Minister – as a heartbreakingly personal story of family and belonging. This is the true account behind one of our most high-profile politicians, Anthony Albanese.
Anthony Albanese (‘Albo') was brought up by a fiercely protective mother, Maryanne, whom he adored. Like any loving mother, she was driven to help her son to succeed, to put her life on hold and sacrifice everything she had to support him and help him become the very best version of himself he could be. Her belief in him was absolute, and she played the part of both mother and father to him.
Until he was 14 years old Anthony believed that his father had married his mother, but had died in an accident before he was born. At the age of 14 she finally sat him down and told him the truth...
This is a moving story of a politician who really believes. It is the story not only of the tough game of politics from an insider who lives it, but also of family secrets and a mother's sacrifices for her son.
'Flak jackets are dreadful things. Sure, they have a purpose, and if one ever stopped a bullet or piece of shrapnel from spearing into my vital organs, I would kiss it, hang it up, and frame it. But that hasn't happened, yet.' For almost ten years Peter Stefanovic was Channel Nine's foreign correspondent in Europe, the US, Africa and the Middle East. During that time he witnessed more than his fair share of death and destruction, and carried the burden of those images - all while putting his own personal safety very much in the firing line. From flak jackets to tuxedos. From the funerals of world leaders and icons, to war zones and natural disasters. This is a thrilling account of a life lived on camera, delivering the news wherever it happens, whatever the risk.
Heartbreaking, joyous, traumatic, intimate and revelatory, Reckoning is the book where Magda Szubanski, one of Australia’s most beloved performers, tells her story.
In this extraordinary memoir, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood, haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities in wartime Poland and by her secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on.
Honest, poignant, utterly captivating, Reckoning announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.
Mark Thompson has had more than his fair share of challenges and dramas in his career. He's been part of five premierships: three as a player at Essendon where he was coached by the best and two at Geelong where he coached that club's greatest team of all. He exited the game amid the Essendon supplements scandal with unfinished business.
After 34 years 'at a thousand kilometres an hour', Thompson has taken the opportunity to reflect on the game that shaped him and to reveal the personal cost of his involvement at the top level. We ride the bumps of the coaches' box, the boardroom and the press conferences as Mark Thompson handles things his own way. He talks about his mentors, his protUgUs and contemporaries with insight and candour.
And he reveals the development of what became his trademark as a successful coach: building a team from the ground up to play defence-first accountable footy, with kamikaze ball movement, under a teacher-mentor relationship. This is as good a book about football as you'll get, from a purist who is not interested in the politics of the AFL. His legacy is some of the greatest footy to be played in the modern era.
When food writer Richard Cornish was so overcome by the aroma of the roast leg of lamb he had buckled into the passenger seat next to him that he pulled over to the side of the road and tore it apart with his bare hands, he knew he had a problem. He began to examine what it means to eat meat by becoming vegetarian for a year. My Year Without Meat is a surprising and bittersweet journey that changed Richard's body, his values and how he cooks. It's a meditation on ethical meat, an ode to vegetables and a cautionary tale about our relationship to food:as told by a self-confessed meat lover. Peppered with funny anecdotes, eye-opening facts and conversations with some of Australia's best local producers, farmers and top chefs, My Year Without Meat thoughtfully explores how and why Australians consume food the way we do. It will make you rethink the contents of your supermarket trolley, how you prepare your evening meal and where your food comes from.
The phenomenal international bestseller Before you can fly, you have to be free. In a small, desperately poor village in north-east China, a young peasant boy sits at his rickety old school desk, more interested in the birds outside than in Chairman Mao's Red Book and the grand words it contains. But that day, some strange men come to his school - Madame Mao's cultural delegates. They are looking for young peasants to mould into faithful guards of Chairman Mao's great vision for China. This is the true story of how that one moment in time, by the thinnest thread of a chance, changed the course of a small boy's life in ways that are beyond description. One day he would dance with some of the greatest ballet companies of the world. One day he would be a friend to a president and first lady, movie stars and the most influential people in America. One day he would become a star: Mao's last dancer, and the darling of the West. Since its release in 2003, Mao's Last Dancer has sold over 500 000 copies and been turned into a major feature film. Like millions of other peasants' lives, it was a story that nearly vanished amidst revolution and chaos. It's a story of courage, a mother's love, a young boy's longing for freedom - a beautiful, rich account of an inspirational life, told with honesty, dignity and pride.
The boy from Carcoar was raised to believe he could do anything. At fifteen, he won his first medal. Then he conquered the world, winning three Paralympic gold medals, seven world championships and more than 35 marathons. A world-beater in and out of his wheelchair, Kurt is a true Australian champion. Inspiring, exhilarating and highly entertaining, Pushing the Limits takes us inside the mind of a kid with a disability growing up in a tiny town, a teenager finding his place in the world, and an elite sportsman who refuses to give up, no matter how extreme the challenge.
The must-read story of the boy from Brisbane who became a wartime hero and aviation trailblazer. In an action-packed life, the indomitable 'Smithy' went from fighting as a soldier amid the carnage of Gallipoli and the Western Front to taking to the skies against the likes of the Red Baron - for which he won the Military Cross for gallantry - before becoming the greatest peacetime aviator of his generation. Along with Charles Ulm, he was the first to conquer the Pacific by air, the first to fly across the Tasman Sea, the fastest to fly from England to Australia, and the first pilot to circumnavigate the globe by crossing the equator. With typical flair, FitzSimons also tells the story of several breakthroughs, some made in Australia, which laid the foundation for the Wright brothers' success in 1903; the first flight across the Channel in 1908; Germany's Red Baron terrorising the Allies in 1917-18, before being shot down by an Australian; Ross and Keith Smith's first flight from England to Australia in 1919; the formation of Qantas in 1921; Lindbergh's stunning vault between America and Europe in 1927; the Great Centenary Air Race; the loss of the Southern Cloud; the saga of Bert Hinkler and much, much more...
Good daughters hold their tongues, obey their elders and let their families determine their destiny. Rebellious Daughters are just the opposite.
In Rebellious Daughters, some of Australia’s most talented female writers share intimate and touching stories of rebellion and independence as they defy the expectations of parents and society to find their place in the world.
Powerful, funny and poignant, these stories explore everything from getting caught in seedy nightclubs to lifelong family conflicts and marrying too young. Beautifully written, profoundly honest and always relatable, every story is a unique retelling that celebrates the rebellious daughter within us all.
Not every woman is a mother, grandmother, aunty or sister – but all women are daughters.
Rebellious Daughters contributors: Jane Caro, Jamila Rizvi, Susan Wyndham, Rebecca Starford, Marion Halligan, Amra Pajalic, Jo Case, Leah Kaminsky, Michelle Law, Caroline Baum, Rochelle Siemienowicz, Nicola Redhouse, Krissy Kneen, Silvia Kwon and Eliza-Jane Henry-Jones.
Walking on the beach and holding hands is a simple dream taken for granted by most. But when elite athlete John Maclean was struck down by a truck while training for a triathlon at the age of 22, this dream became impossible. John survived, but was left paraplegic – catastrophic for a life so full of promise. He insisted that he’d walk again, but it became clear John would need to shift his focus, and take his beloved father’s words to heart: ‘How far can you go?’
With fierce tenacity, determination, and the love of family and friends, John became one of the most accomplished wheelchair athletes in the world, and the first paraplegic to swim the English Channel. He also competed in the Sydney Olympics wheelchair demonstration race and in two Paralympic Games in two different disciplines, winning a silver medal for rowing in Beijing.
But John still longed to walk, hand in hand, on the beach with his wife and their young son. It wasn’t until he discovered a radical therapy that John was able to reach his full potential by retraining his mind and body to unlock new neural responses . . . and stand, walk, and fulfill his dream.
How Far Can You Go? is John Maclean’s amazing story, and his quest to walk again after 25 years in a wheelchair.
Since the publication of her prize-winning memoir Craft for a Dry Lake in 2000, writer and artist Kim Mahood has been returning to the Tanami desert country in far north-western Australia where, as a child, she lived with her family on a remote cattle station.
The land is timeless, but much has changed: the station has been handed back to its traditional landowners; the mining companies have arrived; and Indigenous art has flourished. Comedy and tragedy, familiarity and uncertainty, are Mahood's constant companions as she immerses herself in the life of a small community and takes part in groundbreaking mapping projects. What emerges in Position Doubtful is a revelation of the significance of the land to its people - and of the burden of history. Mahood is an artist of astonishing versatility. She works with words, with paint, with installations, and with performance art. Her writing about her own work and collaborations, about the country she loves, and about the work of the desert artists, is profoundly enlightening, making palpable the link between artist and landscape.
This is a beautiful and intense exploration of friendships, landscape, and homecoming. Written with great energy and humour, Position Doubtful offers a unique portrait of the complexities of black and white relations in contemporary Australia.
'Everyone knows that some of those kids are innocent ...your dilemma is not whether the kids are innocent, but which of the kids are innocent.' When Cathy McLennan first steps into Townsville's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Legal Service as a young graduate she isn't expecting a major murder case to land on her desk. The accused are four teenage boys whose family connections stretch across the water to Palm Island. As she battles to prove herself in the courtroom, Cathy realises that the truth is far more complex than she first thought. She starts to question who are the criminals and who are the victims. Saltwater tells the compelling story of one lawyer's fight for justice amongst the beauty and the violence of this tropical paradise.
James Miller grew up in Newcastle. He attended Pius X secondary College in 1978. He was keen surfer and gifted academically, which drew the attentions of the Principal, Father Brennan, and his deputy, Father Helferty. Aided by his deputy, Brennan found many occasions in which he asked to see James alone, and then sexually abused him, transforming James's naturally sunny easy-going disposition into one wracked with self-loathing and shame.
Confused and bewildered by what was happening to him, James began drinking and secretly self-harming. Any thoughts about telling what had happened to him were abandoned after he left school and married Kate, discovering too late that she was Brennan's niece. With the family connection now firmly established Brennan used subtle - and not so subtle - forms of mental and emotional intimidation to blackmail and threaten James into keeping his silence.
His only plan to escape was to become so successful that he would be out of the clutches of these predatory men. He became a barrister, moved to Sydney and joined a prestigious law firm. However his internal life was a wreck. He was terrified someone would find out what had happened to him, and his marriage crumbled. He also developed a serious substance abuse problem.
Out of the blue he was contacted by another former student of St Pius, asking him to appear as a witness in his lawsuit against Father Brennan for sexual abuse. James had now become such a successful barrister that his evidence would be highly regarded.
James was horrified. He knew that if he appeared at the court case, he would be forced to reveal what happened to him. Worse, he was then contacted by the Father Brennan himself, who in an act of Machiavellian manipulation asked for James' help to defend him.
James became very distressed and had a breakdown, eventually losing his job and becoming homeless, before finding the internal fortitude to resurrect himself and his life. The implied threats and the potential for blackmail from Father Brennan first kept James in Newcastle and then silenced him from speaking out. In 2015 he began a lawsuit against the Newcastle-Maitland Diocese. In writing this memoir, he is speaking out on behalf of victims of institutional abuse everywhere, giving them a voice, and giving them hope that they can be heard and have their hurt acknowledged.
WINNER National Biography Award 2016
Shortlisted, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, 2016
Shortlisted, Queensland Literary Awards, University of Queensland Non-Fiction Book Award, 2015
Shortlisted, Victorian Community History Awards, History Publication Award, 2015
Longlisted, Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism Walkley Book Award, 2015
Daniel Mannix, Archbishop of Melbourne from 1917 until his death, aged ninety-nine, in 1963, was a towering figure in Melbourne's Catholic community. But his political interventions had a profound effect on the wider Australian nation too.
Award-winning biographer Brenda Niall has made some unexpected discoveries in Irish and Australian archives which overturn some widely held views. She also draws on her own memories of meeting and interviewing Mannix to get to the essence of this man of contradictions, controversies and mystery.
Mannix is not only an astonishing new look at a remarkable life, but a fascinating depiction of Melbourne in the first half of the last century.
Do you remember finishing your last Year 12 exam and wondering what to do next? Do you remember waiting for your results and being stuck in limbo? Do you remember going to gigs, forming a band, getting bottles thrown at you by skinheads, making a bomb and getting arrested? Do you remember hitchhiking to Mildura to see the love of your life, but ending up in a caravan park by yourself on New Year's Eve? You don't? What? Did all this only happen to Dave O'Neil? That's what this book is about - the summer in which Dave finished school and waited ten weeks to find out whether he'd make it into uni or have to get that trade his dad kept banging on about. The Summer of '82 is the hilarious and heartfelt story of a boy becoming a man in suburban Australia.
Patrick Gordon 'Bill' Taylor was a pioneer of Australian aviation. As a fighter pilot during the First World War, he was awarded the Military Cross and discovered a life-long passion for flight and air navigation. Returning to Australia after the war, he became a close friend of Charles Kingsford Smith; they went on to form an incredible flying partnership, setting records around the globe... It was on a flight across the Tasman in Smithy's famous Southern Cross that Taylor earned the Empire's highest award for civilian bravery, the George Cross. With one engine out of action and another fast running out of oil, Taylor repeatedly climbed out of the cockpit to transfer oil to the stricken engine and keep the Southern Cross flying - all this while suspended over the sea in a howling slipstream...After the deaths of his friends Charles Ulm and Kingsford Smith in separate accidents, Taylor became Australia's greatest surviving aviator, pioneering vital new trans-oceanic air routes during the Second World War and receiving a knighthood in honour of his services to flight. The Man Who Saved Smithy is the enthralling account of his remarkable life and achievements...
Fred Smith has been described as 'Australia's secret weapon' in international diplomacy. As a career diplomat, he served in Afghanistan during the time Australian Defence Forces were engaged in our 'longest war' against Taliban insurgents.
It was Fred's second career as a musician that came to the fore in Uruzgan province, where his guitar served as a bridge not only to the Australian troops, but also to the people of this war-torn region. His song about the death of Australian soldier Ben Ranaudo, 'The Dust of Uruzgan', captured the hearts of many serving in Afghanistan and was recorded by Lee Kernaghan on his bestselling Tribute to Anzac album. A second song, 'Sapper's Lullaby' has become an anthem for soldiers and their families...
Now, with Australian forces out of Afghanistan, this book is the first comprehensive insider account of Australia's deep involvement there. Part memoir, part history, part anecdote, it is set against a subsistence agricultural province with a 5% literacy rate, in which tribal leaders colluded and conspired against one another in a society where trust had been smashed by 35 years of brutal warfare.
The cast of characters includes charismatic tribal leaders, corrupt provincial governors, domineering warlords, bustling US colonels, and courteous interpreters, all of whom Fred worked with daily during his unique mission...
Dust of Uruzgan recounts the struggles, setbacks and successes of a contingent of Australian soldiers, diplomats and aid workers trying to make a difference in the midst of a hellhole, where truth and clarity were often buried and where 40 young Australian soldiers perished in the dust of Uruzgan.
To outsiders, Maroubra seemed like another world. It was Sydney's toughest beach, ruled by a tribe of tattooed surfers named the 'Bra Boys', already notorious for mixing mateship with mayhem. But to young Richie Vaculik, Maroubra Beach was his playground and the Bra Boys were like family. He'd grow up to become their Minister for Good Times and a central character in the Bra Boys' story as they became famous and infamous in equal measure. Richie's 'poor risk assessment' and fearlessness were legendary in the surf but also landed him in trouble with the law... Bra Boy is Richie's account of those wild days, when fuelled by adrenalin and anarchy he took on monster waves, monster nights out and several levels of authority. It's also an account of how he turned his life around, took up mixed martial arts, was signed by the UFC and fought on the biggest card in the sport's history. Gripping, outrageous and hugely entertaining, it's a story told with Richie's trademark humour and an insight uncommon on the street. As his mate reckons, 'He's the only guy I know who gets punched in the head and gets smarter.'
When Isabel meets Edward, both are at a crossroads: he wants to follow his late wife to the grave, and she is ready to give up on love. Thinking she is merely helping Edward's daughter who lives far away and has asked her to check in on her nonagenarian dad in New York - Isabel has no idea that the man in the kitchen baking the sublime roast chicken and light as air apricot souffle will end up changing her life. As Edward and Isabel meet weekly for the glorious dinners that Edward prepares, he shares so much more than his recipes for apple galette or the perfect martini, or even his tips for deboning poultry. Edward is teaching Isabel the luxury of slowing down and taking the time to think through everything she does, to deconstruct her own life, cutting it back to the bone and examining the guts, no matter how messy that proves to be.
After three years in retirement, Tony Windsor refuses to stand by and watch regional Australia relegated being taken for granted. In the forthcoming election he will go head to head with the leader of the National Party, Barnaby Joyce in the seat of New England. Windsor's Way reveals Tony's courageous political path - as a young branch member he moved a no-confidence motion against the National Party leader. He conducted a rigorous 17-day assessment period of Tony Abbott and Julia Gillard's promises following the indecisive 2010 election and then seized the opportunities of the subsequent hung parliament. By staying true to his values and beliefs in difficult and challenging times, Tony Windsor has become an emblem of integrity and decency in Australian politics.
National Geographic conservationist and chopper pilot Matt Wright was born for a life of action and adventure. Raised in the wilds of Far North Queensland, Papua New Guinea and outback Australia, as a child he would catch deadly snakes for fun or lizards and turtles for show and tell at school. From his early years working in the outback to a short stint in the army, Matt's life reads like a boy's own adventure story, but he was always one to go his own way u sometimes making up the rules as he went along. Today he is the star of his own international television show on National Geographic, a renowned outback adventurer and a wrangler of deadly animals. Giant saltwater crocodiles are a big part of Matt's story but jumping in his chopper and rounding up wild buffalo, brumbies and Brahman cattle keeps him pretty busy too! The Outback Wrangler takes you on a wild ride, where that special outback flavour of danger, adrenaline and adventure comes together in the personal stories of a unique Australian.