Friday, March 29, 2013

Prague Heroes: Bohemians & Antipodean historians

What can I possibly write about this brilliant book that hasn’t been said already?  HHhH by Laurent Binet has been reviewed both to great acclaim and to biting criticism all around the world and no wonder, it’s one of the most interesting books I’ve read in a long time. Without Binet’s postmodern treatment of his material, the names of Jozef Gabčík and Jan Kubiš would continue to be forgotten.  The author himself says it best on page 178-9.  The underlining is mine:

I’m fighting a losing battle. I can’t tell this story the way it should be told.  This whole hotchpotch of characters, events, dates and the infinite branching of cause and effect – and these people, these real people who actually existed.  I’m barely able to mention a tiny fragment of their lives, their actions, their thoughts.  I keep banging my head against the wall of history.  And I look up and see, growing all over it – ever higher and denser, like  a creeping ivy – the unmappable pattern of causality.   He makes us realise that even the choice of which names to include, which names to omit, falsifies the very history he is trying to tell

My former chairman, Andrew Tink, has created a snowball which is causing avalanche at rvery historical society gathering down under.

War birds … a Lockheed Hudson light bomber, similar to the one that crashed into a hillside near Canberra airport on August 13, 1940, killing 10 people.
It was the air disaster that brought down a wartime government: in August 1940, an RAAF Hudson bomber crashed near Canberra aerodrome, killing three key ministers and Australia’s leading general Fatal Fall ~ Andrew Tink

Special Event - Tuesday 9th April, 6.00pm for 6.30pm

Air Disaster Canberra
Venue: Glebenooks, 49 Glebe Point Rd, Glebe
Cost: $10/$7/gleeclub free

RSVP: gleebooks - 9660 2333 or email:

In 1940 during wartime, key members of Menzies' government die in a fiery plane crash. What went wrong and what happened next? Over the next twelve months, it became clear that the passing of Geoffrey Street, Sir Henry Gullett and James Fairbairn had destabilised Robert Menzies wartime government. As a direct but delayed consequence, John Curtin became prime minister in October 1941. Andrew Tink tells an engrossing and dramatic tale of a little-known aspect of Australia's political history.

Until I came of age, New South Wales was my whole life. In those days, Australians travelled a lot less within their own country, and I never stepped outside New South Wales until I sailed for London in the early sixties. Almost twenty years later I wrote a book called Unreliable Memoirs in which I tried to capture what it had been like to grow up in my Sydney suburb, Kogarah. For me, Kogarah was the centre of Sydney and indeed of New South Wales, if not the world entire Clive James

“Now that we could order any book at any hour without having to leave the screen in front of us, we realized what we had lost: the community center, the human interaction, the recommendation of a smart reader rather than a computer algorithm telling us what other shoppers had purchased.” Death of Cold Rivers widely exaggerated