Hugh Stretton: Selected writings
La Trobe University Press, $32.99 pb, 336 pp, 9781760640743
This is a deeply rewarding and timely book. Hugh Stretton (1924–2015) was one of Australia’s finest public intellectuals, a historian, ABC Boyer Lecturer, and social democrat with a steely mind and a calm, clear voice of wisdom. Stretton spent thirty years arguing thoughtfully against neoliberalism, a critique he developed at the beginnings of the ideological lurch to the right in the 1980s. Politics and society are now finally catching up with him. As ideas of the public good are being revived, as governments begin to invest again in urban infrastructure, and as inequality re-emerges as a crucial social issue, Hugh Stretton’s lifetime of practical historical thinking on these matters becomes a vital resource.