Library Non-Fiction

Rob Brooks

Sex, Genes & Rock ‘n’ Roll mightn’t have delivered the insights I was looking for as far as my Interesting Times project was concerned, but as an exploration of the evolutionary aspects of twenty-first century issues such as the obesity crisis, morality, feminism and Rock ‘n’ Roll this is an excellent piece of popular science that deserves a side audience (so I’d better get it back to the Library, hadn’t I?)

Matthew Condon 

Three Crooked Kings, the first of two investigative titles exploring the pre-Fitzgerald Inquiry police force in Queensland, centred on the three key figures of Terry Lewis, Glen Hallahan and Tony Murphy is fine, as far as it goes. With much content drawn from interviews with Terry Lewis and access to his personal papers, it adopts an “even-handed” approach that ends up presenting Lewis as the least despicable of the trio.

Well, given the provenance of some of the information it would, wouldn’t it?

Police Commissioner Bischoff is painted as a definite wrong ‘un, the National Hotel Royal Commission as a whitewash, and Bischoff’s successor Ray Whitrod as ineffectual.

There is, however, one major quibble from here. Apparently, with Whitrod on the way out, largely due to the revelation that he was responsible for “kill sheets” (a quota of arrests and prosecutions per month) used across the state. Bjelke Petersen, allegedly appalled by this discovery, sets out to gather grass roots police feedback as a possible replacement. The majority of the coppers out in the back blocks allegedly plump for Lewis, at that stage an Inspector out in Charleville.

Given a career that has largely, to date, been played out in the background (Lewis spent a number of years in the Juvenile Aid Bureau), this doesn’t quite align with the rest of the narrative.

Apart from that, an interesting read that took me right back to the bad old days of the fifties and sixties, with intriguing accounts of corruption up to the highest levels of the Queensland Police Service.

And an interesting aside with Bischoff’s attempt to stamp out bodgies, widgies and rock’n’roll.

Bob Ellis

One Hundred Days of Summer. There was a lot happening on the Australian political scene towards the end of 2009 and this diary, subtitled How we got to where we are gives writer and ALP insider Bob Ellis’ take on those events. It makes for an interesting read, though your mileage may vary when Mr Ellis’ political positions are taken into account. Would definitely read more along the same lines.

Maurie Garland

Jimmy Governor: Blood on the Tracks is an attempt to sort out much of the myth around the Aboriginal would-be bushranger who struck terror into the communities west of the Hunter Valley around 1900. An interesting read that underlines the deep-eated racism in early 20th century Australia.


© Ian Hughes 2012