More infoABBEY'S CHOICE OCTOBER 2014 ----- David Walsh - the creator of The Museum of Old and New Art (MONA) in Hobart - is both a giant and an enigma in the Australian art world. A multi-millionaire who made his money gambling, David turned a wild vision into a unique reality. He is in turns controversial, mysterious and idolised.
A Bone of Fact is his utterly unconventional and absorbing memoir, about which he says:
'By some great good fortune (mine, not yours) you hold in your hands my story, credible I think, but not extraordinary (despite what those avaricious publishers might have you believe). I have captured your attention: maybe you have some resonance with MONA, or maybe good graphical design partly seized your day. To extract 55 bucks from you, I need to say something clever, but I can't think of anything.
So I'll seduce you with a tale of another, cleverer, writer. Stanislaw Lem, noted Polish science fiction author and notorious smartarse, once told an American colleague that his new collection of short stories would be published in a paper bag. This conjured a mental picture of the stories being selected by lucky dip. The idea that my life story could be told that way, without a disabling manifesto, is appealing.
Unfortunately, Mr Lem had actually said 'paperback' (his meaning concealed beneath his thick accent), a wholly ordinary practice to deliver extraordinary stories. My story lacks Mr Lem's magical reality and philosophy, and it also lacks a paper bag. You should buy it anyway, if you are at least mildly curious as to why I want you to give me more money, even though I'm already rich. But if you happen to read Polish, you could probably do better reading Lem. Incidentally, Polish is one of the few words that changes its pronunciation when you change the first letter from upper case to lower case. If you are in Natal or Nice, you can probably think of another. But surely, if you are in Natal or Nice, you have better things to do than lurk in bookshops. Get out of here, but take me with you. I promise to treat you nice. But not so nice that you'll need to go to a natal clinic.'
In 1999, Munjed Al Muderis was a young surgical resident working in Baghdad when a squad of Military Police marched into the operating theatre and ordered the surgical team to mutilate the ears of three busloads of army deserters. When the head of surgery refused, he was executed in front of his staff. Munjed's choices were stark - comply and breach the medical oath 'do no harm', refuse and face certain death, or flee. That day, Munjed's life changed forever. He escaped to Indonesia, where he boarded a filthy, overcrowded refugee boat, bound for Australia.
Like his fellow passengers, he hoped for a new life, free from fear and oppression, but for ten months he was incarcerated in what became known as the worst of the refugee camps, Curtin Detention Centre in Western Australia. There he was known only by a number, locked in solitary confinement and repeatedly told to go back to Iraq.
On 26 August 2000, Munjed was finally freed. Now, fourteen years later, he is one of the world's leading osseointegration surgeons, transforming the lives of amputees with a pioneering technique that allows them to walk again.
Walking Free is Munjed's extraordinary account of his journey from the brutality of Saddam Hussein's Iraq to a new life in Australia and a remarkable career at the forefront of medicine.
Battarbee and Namatjira is the biography of two artists - Rex Battarbee and Albert Namatjira - one white Australian from Warrnambool in Victoria, the other Aboriginal, of the Arrernte people, from the Hermannsburg Mission south of Alice Springs.
From their first encounters in the early 1930s, when Battarbee introduced Namatjira to the techniques of water-colour painting, through the period of Namatjira's popularity as a painter, to the tragic circumstances leading to his death in 1959, their close relationship was to have a decisive impact on Australian art.
This biography, illustrated with photographs, makes extensive use of Battarbee's diaries for the first time, to throw new light on Namatjira's life, and to bring Battarbee, who has been largely ignored by biographers, back into focus. Some of its findings will be controversial.
By moving between the artists and their backgrounds, and looking closely at the nature of their friendship, Edmond is able to portray the personal and social complexities the two men faced, while at the same time illuminating larger cultural themes - the treatment of the Arrernte and Indigenous people generally, the influence of the Lutheran church, the development of anthropology, and the evolution of Australian art.
On the eve of the centenary of Gallipoli, Ross Coulthart tells the real story of the iconic Australian war correspondent. CEW Bean's wartime reports and photographs mythologised the Australian soldier and helped spawn the notion that the Anzacs achieved something nation-defining on the shores of Gallipoli and the battlefields of western Europe.
In his quest to get the truth, Bean often faced death beside the Diggers in the trenches of Gallipoli and the Western Front - and saw more combat than many. But did Bean tell Australia the whole story of what he knew? In this fresh new biography Ross Coulthart explores the man behind the legend.
‘Here in Africa, two wives is nothing. You white people just have affairs. You lie and cheat. At least we’re honest.’
Lenuta ‘Hellen’ Nadolu has led a tumultuous life. A strong-willed free spirit, she was born and raised in communist Romania, where women were supposed to know their place. At the age of nineteen, her life changed when she started seeing a handsome African doctor named Victor and fell pregnant. To avoid the wrath of Hellen’s domineering father and an unforgiving community, the couple married and then, against everyone’s advice, moved to Ghana.
But Africa was nothing like Hellen had imagined: Victor considered her merely a possession with few rights and expected her to turn a blind eye to his affairs. Pushed to the brink, she made a desperate decision – she would get a divorce and smuggle her three children out of the country. But no Western woman had ever divorced a Ghanaian man – let alone been granted custody of the children – and Victor’s powerful family would not give her up without a fight …
Give Me Courage is an inspiring true story of survival and escape.
A Journey of Unimaginable Betrayal, Resilience and Hope.
SOLD. She was nine years old.
Carrie Bailee fled Canada and came to Australia when she was twenty. Once here she was assisted by a number of Australian women, and was ultimately encouraged to apply for refugee status in order to stay in this country. So began her battle to be granted asylum in Australia. Carrie stood before the Refugee Review Tribunal and revealed the dark underbelly of child sexual abuse and organised crime rings in our privileged, first-world neighbourhoods.
This is the story of one young woman’s heroic journey to survive, escape and soar above her shocking childhood experiences, and her powerful struggle for freedom and a beautiful life in Australia.
‘Moving, inspirational … Unforgettable! A compelling story of hope. I urge you to read this book.’ - Sigrid Thornton
'I was prime minister for three years and three days. Three years and three days of resilience. Three years and three days of changing the nation. Three years and three days for you to judge.'
On Wednesday 23 June 2010, with the government in turmoil, Julia Gillard asked Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for a leadership ballot. The next day, Julia Gillard became Australia's 27th prime minister, and our first female leader. Australia was alive to the historic possibilities. Here was a new approach for a new time. It was to last three extraordinary years.
This is Julia Gillard's chronicle of that turbulent time, a strikingly candid self-portrait of a political leader seeking to realise her ideals. It is her story of what it was like - in the face of government in-fighting and often hostile media - to manage a hung parliament, build a diverse and robust economy, create an equitable and world-class education system, ensure a dignified future for Australians with disabilities, all while attending to our international obligations and building strategic alliances for the future.
This is a politician driven by a sense of purpose - from campus days with the Australian Union of Students, to her career in the legal profession, to her often gritty, occasionally glittering, rise up the ranks of the Australian Labor Party.
Refreshingly honest and peppered with wry humour and personal insights, Julia Gillard does not shy away from her mistakes, admitting freely to errors, misjudgements and policy failures, as well as detailing her political successes.
Here is an account of what was hidden behind the resilience and dignified courage Gillard showed as prime minister, her view of the vicious hate campaigns directed against her, and a reflection on what it means - and what it takes - to be a female leader in contemporary politics.
Erik Jensen has a tale to tell. Jensen, a young journo of 19 is lured in under false pretences by talented but wayward Archibald-winning Australian artist Adam Cullen to become his live-in biographer. And that was just the start. Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen is a true story.
Questions abound ~ Did Cullen paint Jensen? What made Jensen stay? What made him leave? Was it the shooting? Was it being thrown from the motorbike?
You'll just have to read it. This is another beautiful production, lavishly put together by Black Inc. Beautiful in the hand.
Limited number of signed copies in-store at 131 York Street, Sydney - in store & shipping now.
Acute Misfortune is an unflinching portrait of talent and addiction.
In 2008, the artist Adam Cullen invited journalist Erik Jensen to stay in his spare room and write his biography. A publisher wanted it, Cullen said. He was sick and ready to talk. Everything would be on the record.
What followed were four years of intense honesty and a relationship that became increasingly dangerous. At one point Cullen shot Jensen, to see how committed he was to the book. At another, he threw Jensen from a speeding motorbike.
Eventually, Jensen realised the contract did not exist. Cullen had invented it to get to know the writer. The book became an investigation of Cullen’s psychology and the decline of his final years.
In Acute Misfortune, we have a riveting account of the life and death of one of Australia’s most celebrated artists. The figure famous for his Archibald Prize-winning portrait of David Wenham is followed through drug deals and periods of deep self-reflection, onward into his trial for weapon possession and finally his death in 2012 at the age of 46.
The story is by turns tender and horrifying: a spare tale of art, sex, drugs and childhood, told at close quarters and without judgment.
“Fierce and spellbinding” – David Marr
“The terrible force of the painter’s rush to self-destruction is matched all the way by the writer’s calm mastery of his story.” – Helen Garner
“A teasing and complex ode to a man who defied attempts to categorise him or to understand him. Jensen’s portrait dares to be both beautiful and ugly - that is, he is both tender and forensic. This is a marvellous, propulsive, intelligent read.” – Christos Tsiolkas
It was a very different Kevin Rudd who returned to office in 2013. Kevin 07 was a fresh face and a new image: the convivial, Mandarin-speaking nerd who seemed so different from past leaders and who held so much potential. By 2013 Rudd retained some of his popularity but none of his novelty. The Opposition could say nothing derogatory about him that his colleagues had not already said. A series of policy grenades had to be defused. His second term was to be short, brutal and nasty. Yet, despite his defeat, Kevin Rudd was an unusual Labor leader and prime minister. Political scientist and biographer Patrick Weller spent several years observing and talking to Rudd and the people around him to explain how one person came to the job and sought to meet its demands. Weller takes us back to Rudd's boyhood in Nambour, son of a poor Queensland dairy farmer; to a member without a faction who led a bitterly factionalised party; to the only federal Labor leader to win a majority since Paul Keating in 1993; and to only the second prime minister since 1914 to be sworn in for a second time. This book has the advantage of interviews in 2008 and 2009 with ministers who were then supporters but who became diehard enemies. Weller also had the benefit of unique access to the Prime Minister's Office. His biography is a revealing account of the man who became prime minister - twice.
Australians take for granted the presence of their federal government yet it is impossible to overestimate, as this full biography reveals, the role Andrew Fisher played in its development. The book also reveals the skills with which Fisher led the ALP in its early years and his important contributions as wartime Prime Minister and as High Commissioner in London. Andrew Fisher: An Underestimated Man attempts to account for the obscurity of one of Australia's greatest reformers.
A hilarious - and brutally honest - memoir about mental illness and depression. For someone who hates exercise, Kristy Chambers is pretty good at running away, and coming back again when her credit cards are declined. She's not so much an international jetsetter as a loose cannon with a passport. So, in the manner of Eat, Pray, Love, a privileged white girl takes her privileged white ass on the road in an attempt to find happiness. With a family history of mental illness that goes back generations and a complicated long-term relationship with depression, will eating all the pasta in Italy help her to find the silver lining she's looking for? Of course it won't. It's pasta, not magic beans. Joined by the most unreliable travel companion of them all - her mental health - Kristy goes in search of greener grass and finds that if she could only cut her head off, she would probably enjoy travel, and life, 100 per cent of the time (or 95 per cent if you include diarrhoea). Comedy ensues.
He was the reforming leader who made Victoria a leader in social equality, the arts, and the environment. He and his government built the underground rail loop, decriminalised homosexuality, abolished capital punishment, and outlawed sexual discrimination in the workplace. He and his team ended the demolition of the inner suburbs, preserved the best of the state's buildings and landscapes, and set aside large areas of diverse ecosystems as national parks. They gave Melbourne key infrastructure such as the West Gate Bridge and the Thomson Dam, extended the city's tramlines for the first time in half a century, and built art galleries, libraries, and theatres all over the state. Yet Dick Hamer was a Liberal: a Toorak boy educated at Victoria's best schools, who served for years under the conservative Sir Henry Bolte before taking the reins himself and making the Liberal Party a spearhead of reform from 1972 to 1981. Hamer was a different kind of politician. He was intelligent, fair-minded, courteous, and hard-working, and governed with the long-term interests of his people in mind. He never tried to manufacture issues or direct debates for short-term political gain. Victorians recognised this, and elected him three times in a row as their premier - the last Liberal premier in Australia to have achieved this feat. He stands as the exemplar of important qualities in the Liberal tradition. Dick Hamer is the first biography to be written of this remarkable man, who so embodied a quality now lacking in our public life: integrity.
On the top shelf in his aunt's dressing room, Damien Freeman discovered a collection of family memorabilia that told a story he had always assumed to be perfectly unexceptional. The Aunt's Mirrors reveals an unexpected story of how an immigrant family from Poland made a new life - whilst continuing an old one - in 19th century Beechworth, Grafton, Rylstone and Sydney through the shared sense of meaningfulness that permeated the lives of seven generations of this Australian Jewish family.
Thea Hayes trained as a Nurse in Sydney in 1959. A year later she was catapulted out of the safety of her city life into the unknown world of the Outback. Thea knew nothing of the place she was soon to call home, Wave Hill Station in the Northern Territory, the second largest property in the world under one management. It covered four million acres! With nervous excitement, Thea accepted the job and flew to the Northern Territory where her life was about to change dramatically. This is a story of growing up, falling up in love and finding your home.
This fascinating book documents the seven decades Sir Leo Hielscher has dedicated in public service to the state of Queensland. Packed with anecdotes of the major players in its development, this is the story of a life lived for Queensland. Born at the start of the Great Depression, Sir Leo entered the public service at the age of fifteen. A few years later he was to serve in the occupation forces administering post-war Japan. On his return to Australia, he rose through the ranks of the departments of the Auditor-General and Education before being seconded to Treasury. Over the next thirty years, Sir Leo would become a powerful public servant, holding the financial reins on major infrastructure projects such as the introduction of casinos to Queensland, the building of the Gateway Bridge, the staging of the 1982 Commonwealth Games and the 1988 World Expo, the revitalisation of the state's tourism industry, and the construction of the Queensland Cultural Centre. Sir Leo was also the driving force in reforming the mining royalties system and an inefficient public service. He honed his negotiation skills working alongside more than a dozen treasurers, and as one of a small group of advisors to Queensland's most colourful politician, Sir Joh Bjelke-Petersen. Recently, his many years of service were acknowledged with the renaming of Brisbane's two Gateway bridges as the Sir Leo Hielscher Bridges.
What do you do when your husband claims to be madly in love with you, but doesn't desire you sexually? When your therapist is more interested in opening an online sex-toy shop with your husband than in saving your marriage? Do you try yet another counsellor, get divorced or settle for a sexless marriage?
Lee Kofman, rebellious daughter of ultra-orthodox Jews, has always sought her own way. True to her Bohemian dream where love can coexist with sexual freedom, she decided to experiment with an open marriage a despite the fact that her previous non-monogamous relationship ended in disaster. Our cultural mores suggest that love without monogamy is impossible, but Lee hoped she could do better the second time round and embarked on a personal exploration to find out whether she could save her marriage while being non-monogamous in an ethical way. For several months she talked to swingers, polyamorists, cross-dressers, suburban families, artists and migrants - in short, to anyone who has ever been involved in an unconventional relationship.
Set during Lee's first years in Australia, it is also the story of migration, and an exploration of the eternal conflict between our desire for security, but also for foreign places - in love and elsewhere. The Dangerous Bride tells the story of her quest.
'Kofman's book is flushed with her fearless lovely writing, her questing curious energy, the true full feeling of a truly fulfilling memoir. She writes of non-monogamy and infatuation as if they're what everyone should study, but the descriptions by a newcomer to Australia are another kind of love story here. Strikingly candid and candidly engrossing. I need Kofman to be my next new best friend.' KATE HOLDEN
In A Fig at the Gate, author Kate Llewellyn, now in her seventies, embraces a new phase in her life, asking the question, 'How does one live well?' Following the joyful crafting of her gardens in the Blue Mountains (The Waterlily) and north of Wollongong (Playing with Water), Kate creates a new garden near the sea in Adelaide, planting olives, plums, limes and blood oranges, learning how to keep poultry, setting a duck on eggs. Delight and enrichment come with the learning of new skills, being close to family and old friends, long companionable beach walks, rediscovering old recipes, food and wine. Wise and joyful, accepting what she cannot change while relishing what she has, Kate shares the beauties and frailties of the human condition and shows us what the gifts of ageing can bring.
Australian general Sir John Monash changed the way wars were fought and won. When the British and German high commands of the First World War failed to gain ascendency after fours years of slaughter never before seen in human history, Monash used innovative techniques and modern technology to plan and win major battles, forcing Germany to capitulate. His obsessional, brilliant planning, coupled with a ruthless streak, caused him to break the German army in a succession of battles that led to the end of the Great War. Author Roland Perry brings to life the fascinating story of the man whom many have judged as the greatest-ever Australian. Monash: The Outsider Who Won A War draws on the subject's comprehensive letter and diary archive - one of the largest in Australia's history. The result is a riveting portrait that reaches to the heart of the true Monash character. It weaves together the many strands of his life as a family man, student, engineer, businessman, lawyer, renaissance man, teacher, soldier, leader, romantic and lover of the arts.
Born into middle-class poverty in the 1920s, David Scott was on course for a corporate career until his uncle, Father Gerard Tucker, invited him to become part of The Brotherhood of St Laurence. Scott went on to become the director of the Brotherhood turning it into the most significant agency for social welfare in Australia. He also formed Community Aid Abroad (now Oxfam) and played a leading role in galvanising support for the East Timorese people when Indonesia invaded. Always Say Yes follows Scott's life and accomplishments and celebrates one of our giants of social policy.
'After dinner a small mountain of coke was emptied onto a glass surface, the music was turned up and the party continued. This is what Colombians did. And everyone danced, including the men.' When a free-spirited young woman from Sydney's northern beaches left Australia to dance her way around the world, little did she know she would be catapulted into the middle of a European cocaine ring on her first day in Paris. A dancer with the Moulin Rouge, Robyn Windshuttle's life changed irrevocably the moment she met Daniel, a handsome and charismatic Colombian. Drawn together by an irresistible chemistry, Robyn takes Daniel at his word. But he is not, as first thought, a photographer for the Nikon Gallery and she becomes an unwitting accomplice to the cut throat dealings of Daniel's Colombian drug syndicate. Honest, evocative and full of spirit, Dancing with a Cocaine Cowboy moves from Sydney to Paris, Ibiza, Monte Carlo and Bogota in a rich, exciting and exotic swirl. And with great strength and resilience, Robyn eventually reclaims her own life and that of the son she had with Daniel from this turbulent world.
When it comes to racing, the name most Australians associate with the racetrack is Waterhouse. This is their compelling story.
HIGH STAKES tracks the story of the Waterhouse dynasty - from the early years of the colony to Bill Waterhouse's introduction to the bookmaking world as a sixteen-year-old, working as a 'penciller' (writing betting tickets) for his father in the late thirties. From that moment his future was clear. He went on to make money both on and off the track - and created headlines during the notorious Fine Cotton affair in the eighties.
It examines Bill's son Robbie's rise as a respected bookie and a knowledgeable judge of horses, to his spectacular fall, as a result of that same Fine Cotton affair, which led to a life ban from involvement in the racing industry. The ban was lifted in 2001, but Robbie keeps a low profile these days. As Kennedy reveals, the same cannot be said of Robbie's wife, Gai, daughter of the legendary horse trainer TJ Smith. In a male-dominated world, she has gone on to rival her father as one of Australia's best trainers, training horses for a star-studded clientele that has ranged from John Singleton to the Queen of England.
Yet as HIGH STAKES shows, the scandal aside, the marriage between Gai and Robbie was always going to be problematic. As the Sydney Morning Herald put it: 'It's not that the Smiths and the Waterhouses were necessarily the Capulets and the Montagues but the country's leading trainer and the world's biggest bookmaker were hardly natural kinsfolk either.'
Despite an already colourful history, when their son, Tom, stepped into the family business and became one of the best-known and most controversial bookies the country had ever seen, Kennedy describes how the dramas for the Waterhouse dynasty were only just beginning...
This is the book for anyone who wants to know the inside story of contemporary Australian horse racing, a world where premiers and millionaires rub shoulders with gangsters and girls with fancy hats. It's a world of passion, action - and very high stakes.
'In the summer of 1930 a cricketing machine, by the name of Donald Bradman, played havoc around the county grounds of England, pulverising the finest bowlers in the land, shattering records left, right and centre, and making a tour debut the like of which will surely never be seen again.' WH Ferguson, scorer for the Australians. Comprehensively researched, compelling and immensely readable, Don Bradman is the story of how the 'boy from Bowral' became one of Australia's most remarkable sporting heroes, inspiring our nation during the dark days of the Depression, the Second World War and beyond with world-record breaking scores and sensational innings - and establishing a reputation that endures to the present day. Based on exclusive interviews with Bradman himself, Perry's biography of the man who came to be known simply as The Don was widely acclaimed on first publication and reveals how his success was based on a crucial mixture of determination, ambition - and that extraordinary talent which was often described simply as 'genius'.
Going in first or seventh, wearing whites or colours, Adam Gilchrist was the most exhilarating cricketer of the modern age.
This is the most complete, intimate and fascinating illustrated autobiography of ‘Gilly’, one of the most loved sportsmen of his generation.
Featuring personal photographs, stories and precious keepsakes from Gilchrist’s private life and illustrious career, this book provides unprecedented access to Gilly, on and off the field. Peppered with anecdotes, reflections and jibes from friends, family and many of the biggest names in Australian and world cricket, this is the ultimate collection for sporting enthusiasts.
For fans of Rugby Union in Australia the appointment of a coach from NZ, Australia's biggest rival, was a shock. But with poor performances the order of the day for our national team something radical had to be done. Was it enough? An All Black, the pin-up boy of the Canterbury team of his generation and a rebel with the Cavaliers during a 12-year playing career, Robbie Deans was appointed as Australia's first foreign-born coach. What followed was a career as one of the best coaches of the modern era. After 17 years coaching professionally, Robbie still boasts a 70 per cent success rate. He remains Super Rugby's most successful coach, six seasons after his departure from the Crusaders. Now he reveals the old-fashioned values that have underpinned his career and breaks the silence on his removal from the Wallabies coaching job, examining in depth five turbulent years where the systemic and cultural challenges off the field were every bit as daunting and unrelenting as was confronting the best team on the planet. But this is not simply a book by Robbie about Robbie. Featuring accounts by Wallaby David Pocock , All Black Dan Carter, players on both sides of the ditch, coaches, media commentators like Peter FitzSimons and administrators, Robbie Deans - Red, Black and Gold is a story told by those who know Robbie best.
Raised by a single mother, Sally Pearson spent her teenage years working two jobs and catching buses to get to training. Perhaps it was her humble beginnings that instilled in her the drive to compete and succeed - her honest pursuit of excellence and the refusal to allow any obstacle to stand in her way has seen Sally Pearson become one of the greatest athletes in Australia, running the fastest female 100m hurdles race in Olympic history. Her London Olympics victory was the first Aussie Gold Medal on the athletics track since Freeman won in 2000. She broke a world record in a sport where the last broken record stood from 1988. But Sally has something that can't be defined by the bare facts. And this is why her country loves her. It is her single-minded pursuit of her goals, her humble and pleasant nature, as well as her longevity as an athlete. According to her, the secret, she says, is really just belief, it's believing in yourself and giving it a crack and knowing that you can do it.
Known by footballers and fans alike as the Gentleman of Football, Lenny Hayes' career in AFL has been a rollercoaster of successes and hardships. Since joining St Kilda as a rookie, he has soldiered through a lengthy knee reconstruction which saw his career be put on hold for a year, only to discover at the end of 2012 that he had a hole in his heart, requiring him to undergo open heart surgery. He returned to the game in 2013. Hayes captained the 2004 St Kilda team and co-captained in 2007; playing alongside the likes of Nick Riewoldt, Robert Harvey, Nick Dal Santo and Aaron Hamill. Lenny has been selected as an All-Australian, has won the Trevor Barker medal (Best and Fairest) three times and the Norm Smith in 2010, in conjunction to being awarded life membership of the AFL. Lenny takes us behind the scenes and into the locker rooms at St Kilda Football Club, a club that has seen its fair share of dramas and sensations, and what emerges is a moving story of a truly great professional and his long, outstanding career.