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Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist since 1984 and his latest book is The One Indiscretion of his Life: William Carkeek, Cricketer, Footballer, Worker (Archives Liberation Front).

Gideon Haigh reviews ‘Alice™: The biggest untold story in the history of money’ by Stuart Kells

May 2024, no. 464 22 April 2024
In the last decade, Stuart Kells has become one of Australia’s most versatile and fecund non-fiction writers, responsible for a variety of diverting histories, of enterprises, institutions, and ideas. His thoroughly readable The Library: A catalogue of wonders (2017) was shortlisted for a Prime Minister’s Award; his Shakespeare’s Library: Unlocking the greatest mystery in literature (20 ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews ‘The History of The Times: Volume vii: the Murdoch years’ by Graham Stewart

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
In the first volume of his memoirs, In Time of Trouble, Claude Cockburn described his introduction to The Times of the 1930s, on a visit to its foreign desk. There he found one sub-editor reciting Plato’s Phaedo from memory, while another translated it into Chinese: they had a bet it could not be done without loss of nuance. Another sub-editor, a grammarian of Polynesian previously employed as a ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews ‘Keeper of the Faith: A biography of Jim Cairns’ by Paul Strangio

June–July 2002, no. 242 01 June 2002
First, a disclaimer. Since 1975 I’ve had a sneaking affection for Jim Cairns. At that time, I was flirting with various environmental causes – as you do at the age of nine. I circulated some petitions at my primary school calling for the preservation of the Tasmanian south-west from its concrete-crazed Hydroelectricity Commission. I forwarded these to a string of political power-brokers, ident ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Lillian Roxon: Mother of Rock' by Robert Milliken

November 2002, no. 246 01 November 2002
Martin Amis’s encapsulation of biography is that it should convey a sense of what it would be like to spend some time alone in a room with the subject. Robert Milliken begins his story of Australian journalist and rock music taxonomist Lillian Roxon by revealing that he once went one better: thirty years ago, as a rising reporter in London, he not only met Roxon at a boutique hotel in Notting Hi ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Eddie Gilbert: The true story of an Aboriginal cricketing legend' by Mike Colman and Ken Edwards, and 'Mark Waugh: The biography' by James Knight

September 2002, no. 244 01 September 2002
This summer, browsers will probably find these chronicles of Eddie Gilbert and Mark Waugh snuggled close together in bookshops. Both, after all, are biographies of Australian cricketers, written by journalists, and published by firms with strong sporting backlists. But their proximity will be misleading. Cricket contains few less similar careers, and has generated few more different narrative styl ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'The Man Who Dies Twice: The life and adventures of Morrison of Peking' by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin

May 2004, no. 261 01 May 2004
Between the ages of twelve and seventeen, the name Morrison seemed to be almost everywhere I looked. Scraping and stumbling through Geelong College, I attended assemblies in Morrison Hall, was a member of Morrison House, and daily passed a trophy cabinet in which was exhibited a copy of Morrison of Peking (1967), Cyril Pearl’s biography of George Ernest ‘Chinese’ Morrison (1862–1920), a sc ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Magic Circles' by Bob Mason

August 2004, no. 263 01 August 2004
A ‘ground-breaking’ analysis of the Beatles through their lyrics? One is put irresistibly in mind of  the cover of Abbey Road: barefoot Paul McCartney out of step with his fellows, apparently confirming the sad circumstance at which John Lennon had hinted in the last line of ‘Strawberry Fields Forever’: ‘I buried Paul.’ Except, of course, that what Lennon really slurred was: ‘I ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'HIH' by Mark Westfield

May 2003, no. 251 01 May 2003
If you like business bodice-rippers, these are blissful days. After the host of books that emerged from the dot com Götterdämmerung, another wave of cautionary tales has hit the shelves. I reached for Mark Westfield’s HIH after reading my third book about Enron, Mimi Swartz’s Power Failure, and was struck at once by a casual coincidence: that both Enron’s Ken Lay and HIH’s Ray Williams i ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Daniel Andrews: The revealing biography of Australia’s most powerful premier' by Sumeyya Ilanbey

October 2022, no. 447 26 September 2022
During his first electoral campaign, Daniel Andrews hung a sign in his office containing a timeless political wisdom from Lyndon Baines Johnson: ‘If you do everything, you will win.’ He has continued taking it literally. Australian politics has, it is agreed, few harder workers than Victoria’s premier: he is in the same class as LBJ, who famously said that he seldom thought about politics ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'The Vetting of Wisdom: Joan Montgomery and the fight for PLC' by Kim Rubenstein

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
Kim Rubenstein’s biography of Joan Montgomery, the venerable former principal of Melbourne’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC), has been thirty years in the making and is the definition of a labour of love. It involves Rubenstein, a distinguished and worldly legal scholar and human rights campaigner, revisiting scenes from her own life. She was a pupil at Montgomery’s PLC. As a first-year ... (read more)
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