Some men spend their spare time collecting stamps, digging the garden, playing golf, or in some other blameless way. John Hetherington spends most of his spare time, and most of his working time also, looking at people, talking with them, thinking about them, writing of them.
In this new book he writes of twenty-four men, all Australians by birth or adoption, and each an uncommon man – uncommon in personality or by reason of what he has achieved in his own field, or on both counts. All of them have lived and worked in Australia at a vital stage in the nation’s march towards maturity; they have thus experienced in common certain opportunities, disabilities and pressures to conform or not to conform, and certain incentives to think, speak and act in different ways.
In their own lives and actions, all these men more or less reflect the changes that have taken place in Australia’s thinking since World War I. To that extent, these twenty-four profiles, although each is self-contained, form a homogenous whole. Reading them makes twentieth century Australia easier to understand.
Each profile is illustrated with a portrait drawing of the subject by Louis Kahan, who won the 1963 Archibald Prize for Portraiture.
Hardcover, 200pp, 1965.