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Australian Biography

Evatt: A Life

Evatt: A Life

John Murphy

$49.99
ABBEY'S CHOICE SEPTEMBER 2016 ----- John Murphy’s Evatt: A life is a biography of Australian parliamentarian and jurist HV Evatt. Remembered as the first foreign minister to argue for an independent Australian policy in the 1940s and for his central role in the formation of the UN, Evatt went on to be the leader of the Labor party in the 1950s, the time of the split that resulted in the party being out of power for a generation. Evatt traces the course of Evatt’s life and places him in the context of a long period of conservatism in Australia. It treats Evatt’s inner, personal life as being just as important as his spectacular, controversial and eventual tragic public career.

Murphy looks closely at Evatt’s previously unexamined private life and unravels some of the puzzles that have lead Evatt to be considered erratic, even mad. ‘Bert’ Evatt remains a polarising figure – still considered by many in Labor as the man who ‘split the party’ and by many conservatives as unreliable and dangerous. 
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Freeing Peter

Freeing Peter

Andrew Greste ,  Juris Greste ,  Lois Greste

$35.00
ABBEY'S CHOICE SEPTEMBER 2016 ----- Freeing Peter tells the extraordinary true story of how an ordinary Australian family took on the Egyptian government to get Peter Greste out of prison.

What would you do if a loved one were to suddenly find themselves in the most impossible of situations? That's the question addressed in Freeing Peter, jointly written by the family of Peter Greste following his arrest in Egypt in 2013 for allegedly threatening national security. The charges, arising from his work as a journalist, were unsubstantiated, but after a sham trial Peter was given a seven-year sentence. Having been jailed at the outset, he spent a total of four hundred days in prison.

Immediately following his arrest, his family went to work on the campaign to free him, with an intensity that meant his plight was seldom out of the headlines. But the process was by no means plain sailing, nor was there always agreement. The Grestes' ability to put aside their personal differences, to be galvanised rather than paralysed by the crisis, played a huge part in their success. Here they write frankly about the daily uncertainty, the strains of decision-making, the emotional visits to Peter in prison, the lack of transparency in the Egyptian legal system, the struggles with language and culture. For his part, Peter superbly depicts the effects of incarceration on his state of mind, and his battle to stop himself constructing a mental prison within the physical one.

Freeing Peter is an inspirational story about fortitude, resilience, and a highly functional family whose unity proved to be the saving of them.
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The Unknown Judith Wright

The Unknown Judith Wright

Georgina Arnott

$29.99
Judith Wright (1915-2000) remains a giant figure within Australian art, culture and politics. Her 1946 collection of poetry, The Moving Image, revolutionised Australian poetry. She helped to establish the modern Australian environmental movement and was a key player in early campaigns for Aboriginal land rights. A friend and confidante of artists, writers, scholars, activists and policy makers - she remains an inspiration to many. And yet, as Georgina Arnott is able to show in this major new work, the biographical picture we have had of this renowned poet-activist has been very much a partial one. This book presents a more human figure than we have previously seen, and concentrates on Wright's younger years. New material allows us to hear, directly, thrillingly, the feisty voice of a young Judith Wright and forces us to reconsider the woman we thought we knew.
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The House That Jack Built: Jack Mundey, Green Bans Hero

The House That Jack Built: Jack Mundey, Green Bans Hero

James Colman

$49.99
This is the story of how an ordinary bloke from the bush became the key figure in a movement that would change the shape of our cities and bring about lasting political and legal reform. This is the story of the house that Jack Mundey built. Without the green bans movement of the 1970s, Sydney and many other cities would look very different. Pulling together an unlikely alliance of environmentalists and union players earned Jack Mundey a reputation as both the 'best-known unionist and best-known conservationist in Australia'. Under his leadership, the movement fought against the slash-and-burn philosophy that almost saw The Rocks fitted out with high-rise buildings, a highway through the centre of Glebe and total development of Centennial Park. In this long-awaited book James Colman reflects on Jack's remarkable life and his ongoing legacy. Mundey overturned the bulldozer mentality of the 1960s and 1970s and helped to persuade Australians everywhere to cherish and protect the hertitage of special buildings, places and sites. Visit the The House That Jack Built website Listen to James Colman's interview with Wendy Harmer on 702ABCSydney here
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The Hero Maker: A Biography of Paul Brickhill

The Hero Maker: A Biography of Paul Brickhill

Stephen Dando-Collins

$34.99
The Dam Busters, The Great Escape and Reach for the Sky were all written by Paul Brickhill, an Australian hero of WWII. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of his birth and the 25th anniversary of his death.

It was 1956 and the writer from Sydney's lower North Shore had every reason to feel blessed. Former journalist Paul Brickhill was the highest-earning author in the UK and two of his bestselling books – The Dam Busters and Reach for the Sky – had recently been made into blockbuster films. Another of his books – inspired by his experiences as a prisoner of war in Stalag Luft 3 in Germany during the Second World War – was attracting Hollywood interest. That book was The Great Escape.

Yet, life for the enigmatic Brickhill was never simple. He was beset with mental-health issues and his marriage to model Margot Slater was tempestuous. He struggled with alcohol and writer's block too, as his success – and all that accompanied it – threatened to overwhelm him.

In The Hero Maker, award-winning historical author and biographer Stephen Dando-Collins exposes the contradictions of one of Australia's most successful, but troubled, writers. Brickhill's extraordinary story – from the youth with a debilitating stutter to Sydney Sun journalist to Spitfire pilot and POW to feted author – explodes vividly to life on the centenary of his birth.
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Finding Sanity: John Cade, Lithium and the Taming of Bipolar

Finding Sanity: John Cade, Lithium and the Taming of Bipolar

Greg De Moore ,  Ann Westmore

$32.99
For most of human history, mental illness has been largely untreatable. Sufferers lived their lives - if they survived - in and out of asylums, accumulating life's wreckage around them... In 1948, all that changed when an Australian doctor and recently returned prisoner of war, working alone in a disused kitchen, set about an experimental treatment for one of the scourges of mankind - manic depression, or bipolar disorder. That doctor was John Cade and in that small kitchen he stirred up a miracle... John Cade discovered a treatment that has become the gold standard for bipolar disorder - lithium. It has stopped more people from committing suicide than a thousand help lines... Lithium is the penicillin story of mental health - the first effective medication discovered for the treatment of a mental illness - and it is, without doubt, Australia's greatest mental health story...
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Skeleton School: Dissecting the Gift of Body Donation

Skeleton School: Dissecting the Gift of Body Donation

Andrew McMillen

$29.95
Would you donate your body to science? Our future medical professionals rely on body donations to learn human anatomy first-hand. In Skeleton School, award-winning journalist Andrew McMillen gains unprecedented access to the anatomy facilities of one of Australia's leading medical schools to report on this closely guarded world. McMillen explores the philosophical and scientific aspects of body donation, as well as how students approach the task of dissecting their fellow humans. He delves into the emotional complexities of this remarkable gift by speaking with families of donors and attending the university's annual Thanksgiving Ceremony, where donors are publicly honoured. Skeleton School is a timeless work of immersive journalism that examines these unique learning experiences in unflinching detail. By viewing death as a beautiful inevitability, rather than a topic to be feared and avoided, McMillen challenges readers to reconsider their relationship with the inescapable.
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The Shot

The Shot

Gary Ramage

$32.99
As Australia's premier war photographer - and as a former soldier - Gary Ramage has been in and out of just about every conflict zone that Australia has ever been involved in. He's been embedded with troops, lived, eaten and slept alongside them.

Through good times and bad times, through rocket attacks, firefights and funerals, from photographing mass graves in Kosovo to being in East Timor when SAS troops were ambushed, from sleeping under the stars on patrol with Aussie soldiers in Afghanistan to helping out with CPR on a wounded soldier on a medivac chopper, he's been there and documented it.

It takes special grit to be a war photographer - it's an extreme and dangerous job. At least 25 journalists / photojournalists have been killed in Afghanistan alone since 2001. Journalists, cameramen, photographers - they've all been captured, tortured and executed. Risk comes with the territory.

This is a high adrenalin, sometimes moving, sometimes laugh-out-loud funny, entirely gripping story of a man who's living an extraordinary life, documenting some of the most confronting and moving moments in international conflicts and our recent history. Here is the story behind the pictures.
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Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW

Billy: My Life as a Teenage POW

Billy Young ,  Lynette Silver

$29.99
Billy's Story: My Life as a Teenage POW has been compiled from a personal chronicle penned by Billy Young throughout the 1970s, supplemented by hundreds of conversations that Lynette and Billy have shared in the course of their close friendship spanning more than two decades. It is the only first-hand published account by an ordinary soldier imprisoned by the Japanese at the infamous Sandakan POW Camp, and one of only three books by a survivor at the Kempeitai's equally notorious Outram Road Gaol. Billy is now the only soldier left alive from Sandakan, and the only Australian prisoner still alive from Outram Road.
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Up Came a Squatter: Niel Black of Glenormiston, 1839-1880

Up Came a Squatter: Niel Black of Glenormiston, 1839-1880

Maggie Black

$49.99
Niel Black, a Scot from Argyllshire, arrived in Melbourne in September intending to make his fortune. Ambitious and determined, Black became one of the most successful and energetic squatters in the Western District of Victoria - a livestock breeder and a Member of the Legislative Council. He was also a correspondent extraordinaire, and his letters to family, fellow pastoralists, colonial officials, and his chief UK business partner, Thomas Steuart Gladstone (and first cousin of the British prime minister), offer a unique insight into the time. Black's letters and journals, now held at the State Library of Victoria, are the inspiration for this revelatory book written by his great-granddaughter. Battles with local Aboriginal people, other settlers, Commissioners of Crown Lands and bush-fires, along with droughts, family feuds, multiple trips back to Scotland to find a wife and Black's rise to gentrified excess are all vividly brought to life.
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Wool Away, Boy!: A Ripping Memoir of Life in the Shearing Sheds

Wool Away, Boy!: A Ripping Memoir of Life in the Shearing Sheds

Alan Blunt

$34.99
A firsthand account of the shearing sheds of the 1950s and 60s. The son of a shearer, Alan Blunt spent his teenage years in the woolsheds of the 1950s and 60s. As his father laboured, Alan would imagine himself opening the batting for Australia or boxing for the world middleweight championship, only to be startled out of his daydream with a cry of: Wool away, boy. Wake up!' In this colourful memoir Alan chronicles all the larger-than-life personalities he met: the misfits, romantics, larrikins and psychopaths. From the cooks who ruled the sheds u those solitary, often crazy men who could make or break a team's stay u to the gun shearers and maverick managers. With an irrepressible wit, he captures the voices of the men he worked with and brings to life a golden era of shearing.
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Things I Carry Around

Things I Carry Around

Troy Cassar-Daley ,  Tom Gilling

$32.99
A born storyteller, Troy Cassar-Daley has at last turned his talent to sharing his own inspiring life.

For the first time, Troy talks about his early life - how his parent's divorce changed things for him, about missing his Dad and growing up in Grafton surrounded by the warmth and love of his mother, Irene, his Nan and Pop and his extended Indigenous family.

A larrikin at heart, Troy includes all the highs and lows on his path to stardom: the thrill of performing on stage at the Tamworth Music Festival with Jimmy Little when he was just 15; the excitement of heading off on tour with Brian Young and then discovering just how lonely life on the road could be; his first record deal; playing with the greats - Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard and Slim Dusty; his first album Beyond the Dancing, which blended his indigenous heritage with his rural background; meeting the woman who would steal his heart; recording in Nashville; and, finally, releasing True Believer, the album that really launched his career.

The multiple Golden Guitar, APRA, ARIA and Deadlys winner also lets us in on some of the life lessons he learned the hard way, lessons that kept this prodigiously talented Aussie on the straight and narrow (most of the time). Things I Carry Around , is the warm, genuine, and inspiring story of a young indigenous Australian who had a dream and turned that dream into reality.
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The High Life of Oswald Watt: Australia's First Military Pilot

The High Life of Oswald Watt: Australia's First Military Pilot

Chris Clark

$29.99
'Father of the Flying Corps' and 'Father of Australian Aviation' were two of the unofficial titles conferred on Oswald ( Toby ) Watt when he died in tragic circumstances shortly after the end of the First World War. He had become the Australian Army's first qualified pilot in 1911, but spent the first 18 months of the war with the French Air Service, the Aeronautique Militaire, before arranging a rare transfer to the Australian Imperial Force. Already an experienced combat pilot, he rose quickly through the ranks of the Australian Flying Corps, becoming a squadron leader and leading his unit at the battle of Cambrai, then commander of No 1 Training Wing with the senior AFC rank of lieutenant colonel. These were elements in a colourful and at times romantic career long exciting interest and attention-not just during Watt's lifetime but in the interval since his death nearly a century ago. His name had been rarely out of Australian newspapers for more than a decade before the war, reflecting his wealthy lifestyle and extensive and influential social and political connections. But this focus has enveloped Watt's story with an array of false and misleading elements verging on mythology. For the first time, this book attempts to establish the true story of Watt's life and achievements, and provide a proper basis for evaluating his place in Australian history.
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Big Blue Sky: A Memoir

Big Blue Sky: A Memoir

Peter Garrett

$32.99
Peter Garrett's life has been fully and passionately lived. From his idyllic childhood growing up in the northern suburbs of Sydney, to an early interest in equality and justice; from the height of 1960s culture shock at university to fronting iconic Australian band Midnight Oil; from his time as a galvanising activist for the environment to being the only unaligned Cabinet minister in two Labor governments, Garrett has an extraordinary story to tell... Provocative, entertaining, impassioned and inspiring, this memoir goes to the heart and soul of a remarkable Australian and raises questions crucial to us all.
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In Sickness, in Health... and in Jail: What Happened When My Husband Unexpectedly Went to Prison for Two Years

In Sickness, in Health... and in Jail: What Happened When My Husband Unexpectedly Went to Prison for Two Years

Mel Jacob

$29.99
After fourteen years of marriage, Mel Jacob's life looked as perfect as the roses perched above her white picket fence. The nice house in the suburbs, two great kids, a good husband. Until her life took an unexpected detour when her seemingly saintly husband was jailed for two years. In Sickness, in Health... and in Jail follows Mel's funny, moving and insightful journey as she navigates single parenthood, prison visitations and nosy neighbours. Mel's revealing account is the story of the family left behind. It chronicles the grief, the stigma and the conversational minefields of her husband's whereabouts, as well as the logistical problems of making a baby sibling for her two children, and why it's not appropriate to tell people that Daddy's in jail. This is a funny and touching account of grief and love and forgiveness...
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Natural Born Keller: My Life and Other Palaver

Natural Born Keller: My Life and Other Palaver

Amanda Keller

$22.99
One of Australia's favourite and most multi-talented entertainers lifts the lid on life on-screen and off with not so longing looks back at growing up in the burbs in the decade taste forgot.

By turns hilarious and moving, Amanda Keller takes us on a nostalgia filled journey through her life. From her childhood in sunny Brisbane to her daggy teen years in suburban Sydney. Then onto heady college days in Bathurst, where wine was called 'claret' and came in a box, and finally to establishing a stellar career in TV and radio.

Along the way she falls in love with 'a nice Kiwi boy' who becomes her husband and she tells the story of the arrival of their two hard-won sons. But without too many icky bits.

Amanda also takes us behind the scenes of her TV career - from the challenge of turning on a typewriter at Simon Townsend's Wonder World! to the fun of travelling the globe for Beyond 2000, despite having no scientific background and absolutely no sense of direction. More recently she was able to officially represent an entire generation on Talkin' 'Bout Your Generation and share a couch with three blokes and the odd snake on The Living Room.

Amanda loves 'the wireless' and looks back on twenty years of radio. From sharing a mic with Andrew Denton on Triple M to topping the breakfast show ratings with Jonesy on WSFM.

Vivid, funny and hugely entertaining, Natural Born Keller will have you laughing out loud, nodding in recognition and occasionally bawling uncontrollably - in a cathartic sort of way.
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Gold Rush: How I Made, Lost and Made a Fortune

Gold Rush: How I Made, Lost and Made a Fortune

Jim Richards

$32.99
Jim Richards has done it all: dived for diamonds in the piranha-infested rivers of South America; discovered a fabulously rich goldmine in the Australian outback; got caught up in the world's biggest mining scam in Indonesia; and even started a gold rush in the war-torn jungles of Laos. Today he's one of the mining industry's leading executives. This is his story.
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Lecretia's Choice: A Story of Love, Death and the Law

Lecretia's Choice: A Story of Love, Death and the Law

Matt Vickers

$32.99
A successful young lawyer in Wellington, Lecretia Seales met and fell in love with Matt Vickers in 2003. In Lecretia's Choice, Matt tells the story of their life together, and how it changed when his proud, fiercely independent wife was diagnosed with a brain tumour and forced to confront her own mortality. The death she faced:slow, painful, dependent:was completely at odds with how she had lived her life. Lecretia wanted to die with dignity, to be able to say goodbye well, and not to suffer unnecessarily:but the law denied her that choice. With her characteristic spirit, she decided to mount a challenge in New Zealand's High Court, but as the battle raged, Lecretia's strength faded. She died on 5 June 2015, at the age of forty-two, the day after her family learned that the court had ruled against her. Lecretia's Choice is not only a moving love story but compulsory reading for everyone who cares about the dignity we afford terminally ill people who want to die on their own terms.
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Hey True Blue

Hey True Blue

Williamson John

$24.99
The long-awaited life story of John Williamson: an Australian icon, a much-loved legend of the music industry and man of the land.

The joy after all is in the journey, or being what you really wanna be...

The son of a wheat farmer, John Williamson grew up with an appreciation of the land and all things Australian.  His career was kickstarted with a self-proclaimed silly song – 'Old Man Emu' – winning TV's New Faces in 1970, but it was a decade of hard slog before he forged his unique place in our musical history.

From his love of the bush ('Mallee Boy') and his outrage at environmental destruction ('Rip Rip Woodchip'), to his pride in the Australian character and spirit ('True Blue'), Williamson has been chronicling the subjects and issues that are close to his heart for more than forty years. He has become the voice of Australia, performing his unofficial anthems at all the major events.

In his distinctive Aussie style, John Williamson tells it like it is.  He takes us behind the scenes on the road and at home, revealing the tough times, the great times, what drives him and what matters.  His passion – for preserving our national character and landscape, and to remain true to himself – is as strong now as it has ever been.

This is a journey into the heart and soul of Australia.
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Aussie Grit

Aussie Grit

Mark Webber

$29.99
In the high-stakes world of Formula 1, only the fastest make it to the top. Few know this better than Australian motor-racing legend Mark Webber. His career in F1 stretched an incredible 12 years, saw him earn 42 podium finishes and triumph in nine races, including twice winning the crown jewel of F1, the Monaco Grand Prix. But the road to the summit of F1 racing is long and full of deadly twists and strange turns. In his long-awaited autobiography, Webber tells the incredible true story of the small town pizza delivery boy who climbed the apex of the world's most dangerous sports. With startling candour, Webber takes us on a thrill ride through the highs and lows of his amazing career, detailing the personal struggles that drove him, revealing the truth at last behind his rivalry with Red Bull Racing teammate Sebastian Vettel, and allowing us access-all-areas into a very private life played out on the public stage. Filled with anecdotes about the great drivers, epic races and big characters of Formula 1, Aussie Grit is a fascinating account of a life in the cockpit of an F1 rocket and the inspiring, no-punches-pulled story of a great Australian.
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Ponting: At the Close of Play: The Autobiography

Ponting: At the Close of Play: The Autobiography

Ricky Ponting

$24.99
One of the greatest cricketers of all time, Ricky Ponting boasts more records than any other player in Australian history including the most wins as a player and a captain, as well as being Australia's highest run-scorer in test and ODI cricket. From childhood prodigy to the highs and lows of an extraordinary international career, At the Close of Play is the remarkable autobiography of one of the game's greats. But beyond the triumphs and scandals, records and retirement, this is the story of a life lived in cricket and of a life shaped by extraordinary talent and the people who believed in that talent.
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Racing the Boys: Granny Mcdonald, the Winner Who Thrived in a Man's World

Racing the Boys: Granny Mcdonald, the Winner Who Thrived in a Man's World

Jacqueline Dinan

$29.95
Racing the Boys tells the incredible story of Granny McDonald, the first female to train a Melbourne cup winner, and her rise to the top of the horse-racing world. Feisty New Zealander, Hedwick Maher, has always been called 'Granny' - even as a child.

Short, plump, bossy and old before her years, Granny grew up idolizing her horse trainer father in the stables and always dreamt of becoming a trainer in her own right. And she does, in her later years, becoming one of the first females to get a trainer's license in New Zealand. Flash forward to 1938, 8-year-old thoroughbred Catalogue wins the Melbourne Cup, and Granny realizes that she has just become the first woman in history to train a Melbourne Cup Winner. However, the glory is not hers, but her husband who appears in the official records as Catalogue's trainer. Despite all of Granny's achievements, The Victorian Racing Club refuses to issue a training license to a woman.

Racing the Boys is based on the incredible true story of Granny McDonald, an ordinary woman with an extraordinary passion for training thoroughbreds in her own, spirited way, during an era when racing was almost totally male dominated.  Guaranteed to appeal to anyone who has ever struggled to own they credit they deserve and take their place at the top.
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