Longman Cheshire

In his foreword to Doc Evatt, Jim Hagan claims that this is the fourth full-length biography of Dr. H.V. Evatt and suggests that only one other Australian politician has scored as many. Leaving aside the fact that Allan Dalziel never pretended that his book, Evatt the Enigma, was anything more than a profile of the man he worked with for twenty years, these assertions create the misleading impression that a substantial body of literature on Evatt exists. Academics have long lamented the lack of a comprehensive and scholarly biography of one of Australia’s most important and complex judicial and political figures. The very recent appearance of Peter Crockett’s Evatt: A life, characterised by wide-ranging research but a crude psychoanalytical approach, chronic disorganisation, a weakness in the analysis of international affairs, and a lack of historical perspective, disappointed in many ways.

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Peter Steele is a meditative poet with a gift for aphorism: joy / has more of gravity than of gaiety’; ‘You cannot find / your way, but it is finding you’. And of God he saysZ: ‘I’m lost for words except for those to ask / He’ll look my way and make me see it his.’

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‘Magazines and newspapers in Australian literature’ is a more troublesome subject than it may at first sight appear. Within its scope lurk issues and problems that preoccupy and sometimes bedevil much Australian literary criticism and cultural commentary. Indeed, the method and content of this book provide a helpful approach to those perennial issues.

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