Welcomed by Phillip Adams as an important Australian memoir full of insight and humour, this is also a story about growing up. It’s the personal journey of a 16-year-old boy starting work in ‘the golden age of journalism’ when reporters worked with hard copy and hot metal and endured a mixture of instruction and reprimand that would be branded today as workplace harassment of the highest order.
The book’s central theme is a young man’s growing friendship with an eccentric gay Englishman who found sanctuary among hard-nosed, cynical journalists and tough war-veteran printers in an era when intolerance was far more common than inclusion.
The reader follows the progress of a boy gripped with an intense fear of failure in the first weeks of his probation, to the height of his career as a hardened and experienced newspaper editor confronting the Ku Klux Klan, being threatened by dangerously corrupt police, and breaking international news from the inner sanctum of the Chinese Communist Party.
Many of the issues in the Colt’s story resonate today and mirror the problems still facing Australian society. Lessons from the past in a sparking narrative which has been endorsed across the political spectrum.