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Morag Fraser

Morag Fraser

Morag Fraser was Chairperson of ABR and was for many years Editor of Eureka Street. She is currently writing a biography of the poet Peter Porter.

'A little bit of revolution' by Morag Fraser

December 2009–January 2010, no. 317 01 December 2009
In the anniversary week of Barack Obama’s election, the New York Yankees won the World Series, as all the world surely knows by now. The victory might have guaranteed a celebration, even in an America where unemployment hit ten per cent in the same week, but the glitz of the Yankees’ Friday ticker-tape parade through Lower Manhattan’s sombre but not sobered financial district was overshadowe ... (read more)

'Ten Weeks in America' by Morag Fraser

December 2008–January 2009, no. 307 01 December 2008
John Reed would have relished it. He could have stood in Times Square in mid-October and watched as the neon newsflash chronicled the fall of capitalism as we know it. And felt the tremor. The difference now is that the ripple effect of seismic events spreads almost instantly. As Wall Street gyrated, banks in Iceland collapsed, and British police departments and local councils faced billion-dollar ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'Civil Passions: Selected Writings' by Martin Krygier

October 2005, no. 275 01 October 2005
Martin Krygier’s deft, discursive prose could persuade anyone except an ironclad ideologue that it is exhilarating as well as healthy to examine one’s prejudices and complacencies. Krygier is also a writer possessed of a frank openness that gives credence to the idea that you can judge a book by its cover. I suspect he’d also enjoy the piquancy of maxim busting. The cover of Civil Passions i ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'The Clinton Tapes: Wrestling History with the President' by Taylor Branch and 'The Death of American Virtue: Clinton vs. Starr' by Ken Gormley

July–August 2010, no. 323 01 July 2010
While Americans squirmed or vented self-righteous outrage at the revelation of their president’s escapades with Monica Lewinsky, the rest of the world seemed bemused. Oxford history fellow, George Cawkwell, who knew William Jefferson Clinton in his 1960s Rhodes Scholar days, was worldly in defence of his former student: ‘I think the truth is that people behave in sex matters in a way they’d ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'The Wife of Bath' by Marion Turner

August 2023, no. 456 25 July 2023
In her 2019 biography, Chaucer: A European life, Marion Turner provides a fine-grained social context for the poet’s life – from early days. Young Geoffrey Chaucer, we learn, would likely have been educated in a school such as London’s St Paul’s, with its generously stocked library, and a ‘master’ who ‘sat in a chair of authority, raised up, surveying the room’, and whose pedagogic ... (read more)

‘St Matthew Passion: An exhilarating performance of J.S. Bach’s plea for mercy and forgiveness’ by Morag Fraser

ABR Arts 21 April 2022
There are some circumstances that shift a musical performance into another dimension of significance. Mstislav Rostropovich playing Bach’s cello suites in Berlin on 11 November 1989, two days after the fall of the Wall, is perhaps the twentieth century’s most vivid example. On Good Friday in Melbourne, as poignantly perfect an autumn afternoon as one could conjure, the Recital Centre celebrat ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'Silverview' by John le Carré

January–February 2022, no. 439 22 December 2021
Writing in The New York Times on 15 December 2020, three days after John le Carré’s death, Philippe Sands, genocide scholar and professor of law at University College London, recounted a 1962 encounter in Vienna between his friend (Sands knew Le Carré by his birth name, David Cornwell) and the famous Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal. Cornwell had asked Wiesenthal how he could continue to live in t ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'Doing Politics: Writing on public life' by Judith Brett

December 2021, no. 438 24 November 2021
Judith Brett, historian and La Trobe University emeritus professor of politics, is characteristically direct – in her questioning, her analysis, and her engagement with readers. If there is something declarative about ‘Going Public’, the title of Doing Politics’s introductory chapter, that is exactly what Brett intends: to go public, to offer a general reader her considered reflections on ... (read more)

Morag Fraser reviews 'Two Afternoons in the Kabul Stadium: A history of Afghanistan through clothes, carpets and the camera' by Tim Bonyhady

October 2021, no. 436 22 September 2021
In 1994, the Afghan mujahideen commander, Abdul Haq, rebuked the United States for forgetting about Afghanistan once the communist-backed government of Mohammad Najibullah had fallen in 1992. He predicted that Washington would rue its neglect: ‘Maybe one day they will have to send in hundreds of thousands of troops,’ he told The New York Times. ‘And if they step in, they will be stuck. We ha ... (read more)