Review of Australians Abroad edited by Charles Higham and Michael Wilding, and Morrison of Peking by Cyril Pearl
Antiquarians collect, scholars interpret: the dichotomy is crude, but retains a meaning pertinent to this anthology of passages by Australians concerning the wider world. The items are generally interesting, although each reader might have his quibbles; for example that Brennan's letter on Germany is inane, that Allan Ashbolt's critique of New York is slanted, and that Martin Boyd has written many better passages on the Anglo-Australian symbiosis than the one here presented. Reading the book will provoke ideas and questions in most readers' minds: that perhaps the essential fact of Australian social life was the dominance of meat in the common man's diet, that war has been overwhelmingly important in bringing Australians from their isolation, that Hutchins School, Hobart (the only school to be mentioned twice, let alone thrice), may have had a noteworthy part in the development of Australian letters. One can discern themes in a number of the excerpts and so guess at the basis on which they might have been selected—that being an Australian has affected some writers' vision of the overseas scenes; that Australians have written well about episodes of international importance; that Australians have offered Leftish interpretations of world affairs.
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