Hugh Stretton

Hugh Stretton knew he was a lucky man – someone born well in the lottery of life. Born in 1924, he came into a thoughtful family with a strong record of public service. He was educated at fine private schools and excelled in his arts and legal studies at the University of Melbourne. When war intervened, Stretton served in the navy for three years without suffering injury and then won a Rhodes scholarship before completing his undergraduate qualifications.

... (read more)

This is a deeply rewarding and timely book. Hugh Stretton (1924–2015) was one of Australia’s finest public intellectuals, a historian, ABC Boyer Lecturer, and social democrat with a steely mind and a calm, clear voice of wisdom. Stretton spent thirty years arguing thoughtfully against neoliberalism, a critique he developed ...

... (read more)

A reviewer’s summary of this book’s first theme could be accused of political prejudice. That is one good reason for preferring its author’s summary:

... (read more)

On Bertrand Russell’s ninetieth birthday, the Daily Express published a congratulatory leader, which described him as ‘an intellectual gadfly on the rump of British society’. Moreover, to demonstrate that this most conservative of British newspapers intended no insult, the leader went on to describe Russell as ‘the second greatest living Englishman’ after Winston Churchill. Australia’s record of producing, much less recognising the achievements of, intellectual gadflies is if anything worse than Britain’s. The only figure of real stature who might qualify for that title is Hugh Stretton, an academic with an unerring talent for tearing the veils of pretension from the ideas and practices we most take for granted. Since this epoch, as much as any other, needs to take a mirror to its real rather than its pretended self, this too is intended to be anything but insulting.

... (read more)