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Against the grain : Brian Fitzpatrick and Manning Clark in by Stuart Macintyre, Sheila Fitzpatrick

By Stuart Macintyre, Sheila Fitzpatrick

'Against the Grain' examines the twin careers of Brian Fitzpatrick and Manning Clark and indicates the political and private problems that beset them either in the course of their careers. Fitzpatrick used to be the older by means of an entire decade, born in 1905 and raised within the decrease middle-class suburb of Moonee Ponds. From the neighborhood nation university and Essendon excessive he gained a scholarship to The collage of Melbourne and one more residential scholarship to Trinity collage. whereas the following, he turned lively in scholar existence and helped came across either the Labour membership and the coed newspaper, Farrago. This was once possibly an outlet for his rebellious spirit.

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Indd 25 25 24/7/07 11:59:48 AM at all. 46 His prospects at Melbourne were clouded—as Crawford’s letter reveals—by the presence of his former wife, and the notoriety of his behaviour when in his cups was an additional and understandable concern. Yet Fitzpatrick enjoyed teaching. His last academic engagement was arranged in 1964 by Geoffrey Blainey, then Reader in the Economic History Department at Melbourne. 47 Fitzpatrick became convinced he was the victim of political prejudice. 49 Initially, Clark was an acolyte, drawn by the ‘Rabelaisian gusto’ of a man ten years older, whose ‘monumental certainty’ somehow ‘hinted he had the power to uncover some secret for the young’.

The hostile portrait clearly marked a change in the relationship—the younger man now occupied the position of authority while Fitzpatrick had become the recipient of his patronage—but it also revealed Clark’s egocentric preoccupation with his own experience. Always sensitive to criticism, he seemed oblivious to the damage he could inflict with his judgements of others; or perhaps he simply assumed an artistic licence to tell of his quest for grace regardless of the consequences for the lost souls.

When I took the first steps towards becoming a Soviet historian (in Melbourne in the early 1960s), I suspected that Fitzpatrick was wrong in his generally admiring and partisan view, based largely on hope and bolstered by Soviet propaganda publications, and it was my intention to find out. What I found out in the course of my professional life as a historian of the Soviet Union cannot be reduced to a sentence, but with respect to one of Fitzpatrick’s favourite sources, Soviet English-language propaganda publications, the answer is clear: they were as unreliable and misleading as such things normally are—indeed, more unreliable, given that the Soviet Union of the period from the 1930s to the 1950s had a lot of dirty secrets to hide.

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