Brian Matthews reviews 'Frank Lowy' by Jill Margo

'Let us now praise famous men / ... men renowned for their power ... / Leaders of the people by their counsels ... wise and eloquent / ... Rich men furnished with ability, living peaceably in their habitations ...'

These aspirations, from Apocrypha: Sirach 44, pose some problems for a biographer. The famous, the powerful, the leaders, the wise and eloquent, the rich and able would all seem to be among the proper and the more obvious and manageable subjects of biography. But this is, of course, a delusion. Success and wealth breed ego, and egos often crave cosseting and recognition. With the best will in the world, biographers praising 'famous men' are haunted by the spectre of hagiography.

In Frank Lowy: A Second Life, Jill Margo has certainly faced this challenge. Frank Lowy is unquestionably famous, rich, has been an outstanding leader in several spheres of endeavour, has often been a wise counsellor, and, without being egotistical, has a sturdy faith in his own abilities, influence, and presence.

Read the rest of this article by purchasing a subscription to ABR Online, or subscribe to the print edition to receive access to ABR Online free of charge.

If you are a single issue subscriber you will need to upgrade your subscription to view back issues.

If you are already subscribed, click here to log in.

Published in December 2015, no. 377

Leave a comment

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

NB: If you are an ABR Online subscriber or contributor, you will need to login to ABR Online in order to post a comment. If you have forgotten your login 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 We will review your comment and, subject to approval, we will post it under your name.