This is the third collection of Tony Thomas’s best work. It ranges from zany travels in the PNG Highlands to a reporter’s career highlights and lowlights since he first opened a shorthand notebook in 1958.
With his solid knowledge of the global warming controversies, he mocks the absurdities in essays like “Eaten by a tiger? Blame climate change” and “Green lunacy at the Parkville Asylum” i.e. Melbourne University.
You’ll love his affectionate spoofing of air hero Biggles, Germaine Greer and an unlikely Rotarian, Richard Sorge, who was Stalin’s spy in Tokyo. Tony also lays bare a catastrophic Perth dinner party pitting drug-fuelled author Xavier Herbert against future Governor-General Paul Hasluck and author Mary Durack.
His long-researched pieces involve the disastrous 15 months in office of an alcoholic vice-regal couple at WA’s Government House, and Prime Minister Menzies’ support for economy-wide price-fixing cartels (Tony was personally involved in both sagas). Quirky, wide-ranging, packed with insights … here’s a collection to savour.
“Tony Thomas stimulates, amuses, engages and - a rarity among writers, this - surprises. Here he introduces the reader to a fascinating cast of colourful characters and exposes crazy but sometimes scary agendas. Read, relish, and on occasion recoil from the worlds on which he lifts a curtain.”
Rowan Callick, Industry Fellow at Griffith University's Asia Institute.
“What Tony does is rare and shouldn’t be. Other reporters, far too many, make of their craft a vanilla stenography. Thus, when a low specimen denies he’s a low specimen, that is reported with a bland ‘he said’ tacked on the end. Not Tony. “ ‘I’m no swindling shark,’ said the swindling shark" is his approach. And then he’ll lay out the swindle and gut the shark for good measure ...” Roger Franklin, Editor, Quadrant Online.
Tony Thomas has been reporting and analysing Australian life and habits for 60 years. Connor Court published his essays That’s Debatable in 2016 and The West – an insider’s tales in 2018. He’s authored half a dozen other books on history, business, and Aboriginal affairs, and delighted Quadrant and Spectator readers with more than 330 features since 2012.