Mungo: The Man Who Laughs
Duffy & Snellgrove, $28pb, 292pp,
By the time I arrived in Canberra in the late 1970s, Mungo MacCallum was already a legend in his own lunchtime, which, as he admits in this latest book, ‘frequently dragged on towards sunset’. He was famed for introducing a new style of political journalism into Australia: irreverent, opinionated, witty, at times scurrilous. He was impatient of cant, and punctured pomposity. These qualities are all apparent in Mungo: The Man Who Laughs. It is avowedly neither autobiography nor history. It is an odd hybrid, divided distinctly into two parts: a set of autobiographical sketches devoted to his early life, laced with politics and laughter; and a personalised chronicle of the age of Gough Whitlam.