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Philip Ayres

ISBN: 9781925826548

Hardback with dust jacket

214 pages


Release Date: August 2019

“Philip Ayres is one of the best biographers this country has ever produced.” -- Dyson Heydon in his 2014 review of Fortunate Voyager: The Worlds of Ninian Stephen.

The private encounters described in this new book stretched from 1967 to the present and were the products of friendship, research, happenstance, curiosity or calculated risk. From Gerald Ford to Robert Mugabe, they’re taken as found: an ascendant Soviet leader, abandoning his tour group for more interesting company, a charismatic Jamaican socialist whose policies split his island into warring halves, an African president-for-life who believed that all power is based in violence, another next door with his own distinctive system of things, a first lady of Fascism, the most right-wing judge on the U.S. Supreme Court, a Somali general in an anarchic world of his own making, an Ulster firebrand tamed by time and fatal prognosis, Afghan jihadists funded by an America whose culture they hate, Iranian revolutionaries and various other stand-outs in this panorama of personalities.

The point of view is as judgmental as a tape recorder. If there’s an attitude it’s open-minded, sceptical and a shade cynical, proceeding from a working assumption that much of what we’ve read or been taught is at least partly false, often entirely false.

Chapters Include

1 Hosting the Soviet Enemy
2 Gerald Ford at Rancho Mirage
3 Manley, Kaunda, Mugabe
4 On the Road with Antonin Scalia
5 The Friendships of Claudio Véliz
6 Things Diana Mosley Told Me
7 Children of the Iranian Revolution
8 Jihadists in Afghanistan
9 The Road to General Aidid
10 Afternoon Tea with Ian Paisley
11 Deceased but Undeparted

Philip Ayres is the author of Owen Dixon, Malcolm Fraser, Mawson, Prince of the Church (Cardinal Moran) and Fortunate Voyager (Ninian Stephen), and books on eighteenth-century culture including Classical Culture and the Idea of Rome in Eighteenth-Century England. He is a Fellow of both the Royal Historical Society of London and the Australian Academy of the Humanities, and a recipient of the Centenary Medal for contributions to literature.

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