Good Reading : February 2007
FEBRUARY 2007 ı goodreading 9 me my shelf i tom uren Born in Balmain in 1921, Tom Uren had planned a career as a boxer when World War II interfered and he enlisted in the Royal Australian Artillery in 1939. From 1942 to 1945 he was a Japanese prisoner of war in Timor, Java, Singapore, on the Burma Railway and in Japan. In 1952 he joined the Labor Party and in 1958 was elected as Federal Member for Reid in the House of Representatives. He remained in parliament until 1990, serving as a cabinet minister in both the Whitlam and Hawke governments. He set up the Commission of Inquiry into the National Estate which led to the establish- ment of the Australian Heritage Commission. Uren was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1993. He has recently written The Fight with Martin Flanagan. ● What are you reading now, and why? The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, because, of all the major challenges to the human family, the number one is climate change and the environment. ● Who are your favourite authors? Martin Flanagan, Taylor Branch, David M Kennedy. ● Which books have had the most influence on your lifestyle or philosophy? Several, but all are related to the Franklin D Roosevelt period of USA gover nment: the White Papers of Har ry Hopkins [Roosevelt’s chief diplomatic adviser and an architect of the New Deal], the works of Robert E Sherwood. ● Which author would you most like to meet, and why? David M Kennedy or Taylor Branch. They both record major changes in the United States: freedom from fear and parting the waters. ● Is there a well-known book you never finished or did not enjoy? The Hawke Memoirs. ● What is your all-time favourite book? The Future Eaters by Tim Flannery. ● Do you have a favourite fictional hero or heroine, and if so why? No. I am a slow reader – I read books to give me a better understanding of our world. ● Do you have a favourite film of a book, and if so why? The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck [filmed by John Ford in 1940 and star ring Henry Fonda as Tom Joad]. ● Where are most of the books in your home? In my guest house – a shack above the bathroom in the back yard. ● Looking at the books on your shelves, is there any one category that dominates? Politics, art, and stories of experiences of for mer Japanese POWs. ● How are the books on your shelves organised – or aren’t they? They’re organised mainly into categories, as above. ● Where is your favourite place to read? In my bedroom, and at a big tallow-wood table in the main part of our house. ● Do you have a favourite bookshop? Gleebooks, Glebe and Bray’s Books, Balmain, Sydney.
December / January 2007