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Dan Toner

Dan Toner is living and writing in Ireland.

Dan Toner review ‘The Champions: Conversations with great players and coaches of Australian football’ by Ben Collins

November 2006, no. 286 01 November 2006
In the wake of another season gone begging for many, it is stabilising and somewhat corrective to immerse oneself in the wisdom of some of Australian Rules’s greatest exponents, as collected here by Ben Collins. These men, mostly ex-players, have obviously thought deeply about the game since they left it, and have examined their lives for what it truly meant to them. What emerges is a catalogue ... (read more)

Dan Toner reviews 'Chappelli Speaks Out' by Ashley Mallett (with Ian Chappell)

April 2006, no. 280 01 April 2006
In his introduction to Chappelli Speaks Out, Ashley Mallett relates how he realised early on in the project that he would need to step outside the bounds of traditional biography in order to do justice to his old mate. His variation on the genre, not entirely revolutionary, is to insert passages of direct quotation into the body of the text, literally allowing Ian Chappell to address the reader. ... (read more)

Dan Toner reviews 'The Line: A man’s experience; a son’s quest to understand' by Arch and Martin Flanagan

April 2006, no. 280 01 April 2006
This book is a double-barrelled memoir, its two authors providing, at heart, a first- and second-generation account of the Burma Railway and its resonances down their line. It’s arc is wider though, and it’s preoccupations more universal, than a simple family history, if there is such a thing. Arch Flanagan, the patriarch and veteran, contributes five pieces, two of memoir, two short stories a ... (read more)

Dan Toner reviews 'Prime Cuts: Stories' by Angus Gaunt

July–August 2008, no. 303 01 July 2008
‘These stories were all written on the 7.22 between Normanhurst and Central,’ reports the author. I find it eminently pleasing to learn that a writer is so driven to create that he will suffer through even the lurching ignominies of train travel to get words on the page. It speaks of a higher purpose, one that most commuters, hard-wired to their iPods or up to their eyeballs in Sudoku, will ne ... (read more)

Dan Toner reviews ‘Francis de Groot: Irish fascist Australian legend’ by Andrew Moore

September 2006, no. 284 01 September 2006
There was a time in Australia when right-wing citizens of this country were passionate and organised enough to bring the left-led state of New South Wales to the brink of civil war on political grounds. This violent opposition was led by rebel elements among ‘as many as 30,000 members’ of a conservative and ‘formally constituted civilian reserve’ known as the Old Guard. Impatient with the ... (read more)

Dan Toner reviews 'I Wouldn't Start From Here' by Andrew Mueller

June 2007, no. 292 01 June 2007
Before you settle into this ‘random history of the twenty-first century’, grab an atlas: Andrew Mueller is one well-travelled hack. A fatalist philatelist, he has spent most of his career collecting the types of stamps that adorn passports, not envelopes. In I Wouldn’t Start from Here, Mueller reports on and from some of the most exotic sites of international strife imaginable: Jerusalem, Ba ... (read more)