Phil Shannon

If the assassination-plotters and coup-conspirators in the German military had succeeded in their many attempts from 1938 to 1944 to remove Hitler and overthrow the Nazi regime, then entirely different options to years of mass military deaths, civilian slaughter and horrendous concentration camps would have come into play.

One Last Spin: The Power & Peril of the Pokies
Drew Rooke
Scribe, 2018, 325 pages

Ever wondered if it possible to win against the pokies? Why not ask someone who should know, like a poker machine technician.

“I make these machines in order to grab your money,” one such techie said when asked by freelance Sydney journalist, Drew Rooke. “I would not be so stupid to play myself.”

Triumph: Jesse Owens & Hitler’s Olympics

Jeremy Schaap

Head of Zeus, 2014

272 pages

He may have been the world’s greatest athlete at the time, writes Jeremy Schaap in Triumph, but Jesse Owens was also a Black American. Therefore Owens, the winner of four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, was refused a room at hotel after hotel on his arrival back in New York, until a agreed on condition that he use the service entrance.

Doug McEachern’s novel follows the progress and regress of the two friends living in the 1960s as “endless acrimonious debates over militancy” pepper their student group house in inner-city North Adelaide.

Rebel Prince: The Power, Passion & Defiance of Prince Charles

By Tom Bower

William Collins, 2018

Meghan: A Hollywood Princess

By Andrew Morton

Michael O’Mara Books, 2018

“Nobody knows what utter hell it is to be Prince of Wales,” whined Charles, the heir to the British throne.

Dissent didn’t obey strict decade-demarcation lines on Australian campuses in the radical 1960s, writes Sally Wood in Dissent: The Student Press in 1960s Australia.

Sir Alex Ferguson was deeply affronted by the Manchester United Football Club supporters who got stroppy about the proposed takeover of the huge English Premier League club he then managed by the US corporate raider, Malcolm Glazer, in 2004.

“They carried on to the degree where they actually thought they should have a say in the running of the football club,” exclaimed the outraged manager.

Ferguson got to the core of things by starkly asking just whose club it is.

Nobody better reflects the military and political elites’ cavalier attitude to nuclear weapons than Sir William Penney, the architect of Britain’s hydrogen bomb program.

Asked how destructive the new weapons were in meetings in 1961 between US Democrat President John F. Kennedy and British Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, Penney casually answered by saying: “It would take twelve to destroy Australia, Britain five or six, say seven or eight, and I’ll have another gin and tonic, if you would be so kind”.

In 1960, trainee priest Thomas Keneally abandoned the seminary at Manly on Sydney’s North Shore without any qualifications other than a Bachelor of Theology and with no skills other than medieval Latin.

His escape from his crisis of confidence in the Catholic Church, says Stephany Steggall in her biography of the Australian novelist, was through writing. This was both Keneally’s attempt to understand, and keep at bay, the “madness and melancholia” of the human lot, and his own course of personal therapy for exorcising the mental demons that haunted him for six years in an uncaring, dogmatic institution with its “anti-human moral code”.

The Billonaires’ Club: The Unstoppable Rise of Football’s Super-Rich Owners
James Montague
Bloomsbury, 2017
330 pages

At this stage of the 2017 English Premier League (EPL) season, it looks like one of the two Manchester teams will win the championship — and with barely a Mancunian between them. Both Manchester United and Manchester City have overseas owners, overseas managers and overseas-dominated player lists.

Pages

Subscribe to Phil Shannon