Life So Full of Promise

Ross McMullin

Life So Full of Promise
Scribe Publications
18 April 2023

Life So Full of Promise

Ross McMullin

Winner of the 2024 Age Book of the Year for Nonfiction

Acclaimed historian and biographer Ross McMullin has again combined prodigious research and narrative flair in this sequel to Farewell, Dear People, the winner of multiple awards including the Prime Minister’s Prize for Australian History. Life So Full of Promise, his second multi-biography about Australia’s lost generation of World War I, features a collection of interwoven stories set in that defining era.

The rich cast includes a talented barrister whose outstanding leadership enabled a momentous victory in France; an eminent newspaper editor who kept his community informed about the war while his sons were in the trenches; an energetic soldiers’ mother who became a political activist and a Red Cross dynamo; an admired farmer whose unit was rushed to the rescue in the climax of the conflict; the close sisters from Melbourne who found their lives transformed; a popular doctor who was more fervently mourned than any other Australian casualty; and a bohemian Scandinavian blonde who disrupted one of Sydney’s best-known families.

A feature of the book is its coverage of cricket and cricketers of the era. It reveals the untold story of a keen all-rounder who was chosen in an Australian team to tour England, but surprisingly did not go. There is also a superb biography of a brilliant yet practically unknown cricketer whose stunning feat has never been matched. Other prominent characters include the most versatile top-level sportsman Australia has ever known, and a Test prospect whose violent postwar death shocked the nation.

The storytelling is superlative, illuminating and profoundly moving.

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