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Richard Walsh

Richard Walsh

Richard Walsh was founding editor of OZ and POL magazines and the weekly newspaper Nation Review. From 1972–86 he was managing director of Angus & Robertson Publishers, and from 1986–96 he headed Australian Consolidated Press. Currently he is Consultant Publisher at Allen & Unwin. He is the author of nine books; his most recent is, Reboot (MUP).

Richard Walsh reviews ‘Bubble Man: Alan Greenspan and the missing 7 trillion dollars’ by Peter Hartcher

August 2005, no. 273 01 August 2005
Peter Hartcher has written a terrific book. It is that rarity in Australian publishing: an account of a significant economic event written in language that is totally comprehensible to the non-economist. It is shaped like a true-crime psychological thriller. The scene of the carnage is the American dotcom bubble, which began to gather pace in 1996 and in time became ‘the mightiest mania in the ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews ‘30 Days: A month at the heart of Blair’s war’ by Peter Stothard

December 2003–January 2004, no. 257 01 December 2003
This book is as beguilingly English as a Fortnum & Mason picnic hamper. Peter Stothard (a former editor of The Times and current editor of the Times Literary Supplement) spent a month inside 10 Downing Street reporting in intimate detail the comings and goings there during the critical days before and after the Coalition of the Willing began its assault on Iraq on March 20 this year. He evokes ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Bad Company: The cult of the CEO' by Gideon Haigh, and 'The Big End of Town: Big business and corporate leadership in twentieth-century Australia' by Grant Fleming, David Merrett and Simon Ville

April 2004, no. 260 01 April 2004
There is something uncommonly beguiling about a business writer who can insouciantly intersperse his argument with references to Eugene O’Neill and T.S. Eliot. Gideon Haigh is such a man, and the tale he has to tell is wonderfully seasoned by his intelligence and literacy. But that does not make its logic compelling. Bad Company displays an almost tabloid preoccupation with the excesses of cert ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Rupert's Adventure in China: How Murdoch lost a fortune and found a wife' by Bruce Dover

March 2008, no. 299 01 March 2008
For two decades of my life, I worked as a senior executive with first Rupert Murdoch and then Kerry Packer. These were challenging years, not without their hairy moments, but I always felt my best way of retaining any kind of perspective at that time was to conceive of myself as a bit player at the court of a seventeenth- or eighteenth-century monarch. Bruce Dover, in the 1990s, was attached to t ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Making Books' edited by David Carter and Anne Galligan

December 2007–January 2008, no. 297 01 December 2007
Until the last decade, there has been very little serious scholarly interest in Australian book publishing. Indeed, when I began lecturing in this discipline in 2001, there was no historical or contemporary overview that could be recommended to my students beyond the entry in the Australian Encyclopedia. However, with the recent dramatic growth in Communications courses, and spurred on by projects ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Do I Make Myself Clear?: Why writing well matters' by Harold Evans

August 2018, no. 403 26 July 2018
Harold Evans, the celebrated former editor of London’s The Sunday Times and ex-president of Random House USA, is angry. He fulminates against lazy journalism, against the impenetrability of government announcements, and against the pseudo-legal language of terms and conditions we are bullied into accepting during almost any online transaction these days, no matter how trivial. Most of all, he w ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Fair Share: Competing claims and Australia’s economic future' by Stephen Bell and Michael Keating

June-July 2018, no. 402 24 May 2018
This is not a book with immediate appeal for the general reader, who is likely to be deterred by the denseness of its analysis. That is unfortunate, because its message deserves to be widely disseminated. It provides a useful account of economic history since the end of World War II, both internationally and in Australia, and ultimately offers a bespoke reform agenda. The authors’ account begin ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'What Editors Do: The art, craft, and business of book editing' edited by Peter Ginna

April 2018, no. 400 27 March 2018
This is an American book and no doubt primarily aimed at those interested in how American publishing works, and specifically at those interested in gaining employment there or upgrading their skills. In Australia it will be of limited use to those with similar ambitions and interests, because the Australian publishing industry is structured in a significantly different way. But it contains enough ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Memoirs' by Mike Willesee

January–February 2018, no. 398 19 December 2017
Mike Willesee has been one of the giants of the Australian media for over half a century. He was a major force in television for most of those years; but he began his life in print journalism and made a small fortune as the joint owner of 2Day FM when it was sold to the Lamb family. The memoir of such an important figure is always much anticipated, and its publication has been greeted with much fa ... (read more)

Richard Walsh reviews 'Wednesdays with Bob' by Bob Hawke and Derek Rielly

December 2017, no. 397 23 November 2017
This is a book with a strange genesis. Its author, Derek Rielly, explains that he confessed to an agent one night that he’d always wanted to meet Bob Hawke. Her response was: ‘I know a publisher who loves Bob. Get me a proposal.’ In order to obtain Bob’s cooperation, Rielly had first to win over Blanche d’Alpuget and then the ‘greatest post-war prime minister’ himself. Given that Bla ... (read more)