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Australian Biography

King of the Air: The Turbulent Life of Charles Kingsford Smith

King of the Air: The Turbulent Life of Charles Kingsford Smith

Ann Blainey

$49.99
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Charles Kingsford Smith was the most commanding flyer of the golden age of aviation. In three short years, he broke records with his astounding and daring voyages - the first trans-Pacific flight from America to Australia, the first circumnavigation around the equator, the first non-stop crossing of the Australian mainland. He did it all with such courage, modesty and charm that Australia and the world fell in love with him. A tickertape parade was held in his honour on New York's Fifth Avenue. At home, he became a national hero, 'Our Smithy'.

Yet his achievements belied a traumatic past. He had witnessed the horror of World War I - first as a soldier at Gallipoli, later as a combat pilot with the Royal Flying Corps - and, like so many of his generation, he bore physical and emotional scars. The public saw the derring-do; only those close to him knew the anxious man who pushed himself to the edge of health and sanity. In November 1935, Kingsford Smith's plane crashed and he was lost at sea near Burma, his body never to be recovered.

This brilliant work from one of Australia?s foremost biographers reveals the complicated, tumultuous life of a fascinating figure, who pursued his obsession to the greatest heights of fame and catastrophe.
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Welcome to Story Club: Candid True Tales by Australia's Funniest Oversharers

Welcome to Story Club: Candid True Tales by Australia's Funniest Oversharers

Ben Jenkins ,  Zoe Norton Lodge

$29.99
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A hilarious, no-holds-barred collection of true stories from Story Club, the legendary live show that spawned the hit podcast In this first collection from Story Club, the legendary live show that has become a hit podcast, Club founders and popular Checkout presenters Zoe Norton Lodge and Ben Jenkins have brought together 30 of the most candid true tales by some of Australia's funniest oversharers.

The results are by turns hilarious, poignant, revealing and, sometimes, downright weird. Contributors include David Marr, Annabel Crabb, Richard Glover, Rob Carlton, Lewis Hobba, Cathy Wilcox, Susie Youssef, Kate Mulvaney (King Lear), Debra Oswald, and many more.
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Slice Girls

Slice Girls

Joan Arakkal

$29.99
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When Dr Joan Arakkal chooses to specialise in orthopaedics while training in India, a field traditionally occupied by men, she slots into the world of bones with relative ease.

But when her career takes her to the UK, and then Australia, she encounters the `bonemen' - a boy's club whose members are easily identified in the hospital corridors by their loud voices and self-assured swagger. Their medieval attitudes wield a stranglehold on the development of orthopaedics, compromising patient care.

Joan is totally unprepared for the obstacles and prejudices she encounters - but the tables are turned when she suffers a health scare of her own, which ultimately gives her the perspective she needs to speak and fight without fear.

A provocative reflection on the discrimination, sexism and cartelisation entrenched in the surgical community, and particularly the world of orthopaedics, Slice Girls shines light on a surgical path that is made needlessly challenging for women, and finds that while women are ready for surgery, it forces the question: is surgery ready for women?
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Leeward: A Memoir

Leeward: A Memoir

Geoffrey Lehmann

$34.99
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`For my first ten years I grew up in Lavender Bay with the smell of salt water, in houses facing the grey curved eye of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. There was a distant rumble, like thunder, when trains went across.' This is a lyrical and honest memoir of a poet's life in Sydney. From Lavender Bay to Lindfield, Geoff Lehmann tells the story of his life as a poet, tax lawyer, member of the Sydney Push, single father to three small children and finally, a happily married man who returns to poetry writing and translation. His life and work crosses with some of the leading cultural figures of the twentieth century and beyond - Les Murray, Judith Wright, Christopher Brennan, Clive James. He traces the contours of his own life and his family history, and the contours of particular slice of Sydney.
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Monash: As Military Commander

Monash: As Military Commander

Peter Pedersen

$34.99
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Dr Peter Pedersen's scholarly study of Sir John Monash remains the finest analysis of Australia's best known military leader.

In 1918 the Australian Corps under Monash's command played a leading role in the Allied advance to victory on the Western Front. Its successes in the battles of Hamel and Amiens, the taking of Mont St Quentin and Peronne and the breaching of the Hindenburg Line are among the most prominent landmarks in Australia's military history. Monash was central to these pivotal achievements.

This book traces Monash's development as a commander from his pre-war militia service to his wartime experience at Gallipoli and on the Western Front. It examines in detail how each stage of his military career influenced his approach to command and the tactical problems he faced as the wartime commander of an infantry brigade and division and, ultimately, the Australian Corps. The influence of his education and civilian training are also examined in this meticulous study. 

What emerges from this nuanced and sophisticated assessment of Monash as a soldier is a superb portrayal of how a commander works and what he could achieve under conditions so inimical to the exercise of command as those that prevailed on the Western Front. Along the way, Dr Pedersen establishes Monash's place among his contemporaries, British and Australian, and provides the definitive answer to the question 'Just how good was Monash?'

Published for the centenary of the great victories of 1918, this new and updated edition of Dr Pedersen's classic work is a timely study of Australia's finest general.
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The Finest Gold: The Making of an Olympic Swimmer

The Finest Gold: The Making of an Olympic Swimmer

Brad Cooper

$32.99
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Munich, 1972. In the men's 400-metre freestyle race, America's Rick DeMont beats Australia's Brad Cooper by a hundredth of a second. It's the first electronic timing to deliver a win by such a close margin. The following day, DeMont is stripped of his medal in the world's first swim doping disqualification. Three days later, as the Black September terrorist attack is unfolding on the other side of the Village, Brad is presented with gold in a 'farce of firsts'. Neither Brad nor the Olympics will ever be the same.

This is a story about a global sporting competition - its glory, ignominy, and industry - but mostly it is the intimate account of the making of an athlete. In poetic, whip-smart prose, we journey from Brad's childhood in 1960s Rockhampton, where his acid-tongued mother feeds a pining for her glamorous ex-pat days by holding Latin nights and smoking Craven 'A', via his parents' vicious split, to an itinerant adolescence with his amnesiac, portent-driven father, where the only constant is the relentless search for training lanes as the pair pinball up and down Australia's east coast, from boarding house to sleep-out. At fifteen, with the Munich Olympics looming, Brad teams up with the legendary and fearsome coach Don Talbot, aka Ming the Merciless; his career is about to step into overdrive with two world records and an Olympic gold medal, but it would take the rest of his life to work out what it all meant.

The Finest Gold is a rollicking coming-of-age and a compelling exploration of the limits and lengths of the human body.
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A Delicious Bundle of Prejudices: The Australian Life of George William Rusden

A Delicious Bundle of Prejudices: The Australian Life of George William Rusden

Paul Nicholls

$49.95
In this biography of George William Rusden, Paul Nicholls explores the paradoxes inherent in the life of an extraordinary man.

One who gained renown and is remembered today for his scholarship, though his formal schooling ended when he was fifteen. One who favoured laissez-faire economics yet advocated strong government. One who as a civil servant upheld the prerogatives of parliament yet opposed manhood suffrage and was boundlessly contemptuous of politicians who pandered to the masses. One who criticised fellow Anglicans who were addicted to a bigoted ‘denominationalism’. And one who tirelessly and copiously blamed his fellow settlers for the depraved condition of ‘the Australians’, whose tribal lands had been usurped and who were frequently oppressed and ill-treated — thus sullying England’s good name by depriving the Aborigines of their sacred right, as British subjects, to be treated equally before the law.

When Rusden died in 1903, he was described as ‘a delicious bundle of prejudices’. A consummate Englishman, his love of his adopted country was unquestionable. It is unlikely, however, that he perceived Australia as ‘a new Britannia in another world’, and tempting to conclude that an old Britannia in the existing world suited him well enough.
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Cool Hand Luke Lewis

Cool Hand Luke Lewis

Luke Lewis

$29.99
In 'Cool Hand Luke Lewis', Luke tells this story in his own words winning a premiership with the Panthers in 2003; playing for NSW alongside his childhood hero Brad Fittler in 2004; representing Australia in 2009; his painful decision to leave the Panthers and play for the Sharks in 2013; and the integral part he played in securing Cronulla's 2016 grand final win. Along the way, Luke had the support of his devoted family and the friendship of many teammates to see him through to the end of his career.
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