Heroes & Villains by Nick Dyrenfurth & A Little History of the Australian Labor Party by Nick Dyrenfurth and Frank Bongiorno

by
September 2011, no. 334

Heroes & Villains: The Rise and Fall of the Early Australian Labor Party by Nick Dyrenfurth

Australian Scholarly Publishing, $44 pb, 281 pp

Book Cover 2 Small

A Little History of the Australian Labor Party

by Nick Dyrenfurth and Frank Bongiorno

New South, $24.95 pb, 217 pp, 9781742232843

Heroes & Villains by Nick Dyrenfurth & A Little History of the Australian Labor Party by Nick Dyrenfurth and Frank Bongiorno

by
September 2011, no. 334

The heroes and villains in Nick Dyrenfurth’s account of the early Labor Party are the cartoon figures in the labour press that he uses to explore its political rhetoric. The heroes are sturdy working men, sometimes in bush garb, sometimes industrial labourers. The villains take various forms: serpents, harpies, bloodsucking insects, menacing aliens, but above all the Fat Man, the swollen, grotesque embodiment of capitalist greed. Dyrenfurth observes that Mr Fat is a far more ubiquitous device in Australian radical iconography than its counterparts elsewhere. British cartoons used a variety of villains: aristocratic loafers, rapacious landlords, ruthless sweaters, mendacious press barons. Those in the United States were less likely to personify capitalism with a generic capitalist villain than to depict combines and trusts.

Stuart Macintyre reviews 'Heroes & Villains: The Rise and Fall of the Early Australian Labor Party' by Nick Dyrenfurth and 'A Little History of the Australian Labor Party' by Nick Dyrenfurth and Frank Bongiorno

Heroes & Villains: The Rise and Fall of the Early Australian Labor Party

by Nick Dyrenfurth

Australian Scholarly Publishing, $44 pb, 281 pp

Book Cover 2 Small

A Little History of the Australian Labor Party

by Nick Dyrenfurth and Frank Bongiorno

New South, $24.95 pb, 217 pp, 9781742232843

From the New Issue

You May Also Like

Leave a comment

If you are an ABR subscriber, you will need to sign in to post a comment.

If you have forgotten your sign in details, or if you receive an error message when trying to submit your comment, please email your comment (and the name of the article to which it relates) to ABR Comments. We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.

Please note that all comments must be approved by ABR and comply with our Terms & Conditions.