Your Most Obedient Servant: B.A. Santamaria Selected Letters - 1938-1996

Patrick Morgan

 
Your Most Obedient Servant: B.A. Santamaria Selected Letters - 1938-1996
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Your Most Obedient Servant: B.A. Santamaria Selected Letters - 1938-1996

Patrick Morgan

B.A. Santamaria was one of the most controversial Australians of our time. His sphere of influence ranged across the nation’s political and social landscape. Santamaria, an ardent anti-Communist and devout Catholic, was fiercely intelligent and a natural leader, polarising the community into loyal followers and committed opponents. This collection of letters spanning sixty years shows facets of Santamaria’s personality and activities that have not previously been disclosed. The letters are both personal and professional and in them he speaks frankly on matters of the state, the Church and family and he is revealed as a person more subtle in his views than his public persona would suggest. His correspondents ranged from prominent politicians, including Malcolm Fraser, Bill Hayden and Clyde Cameron, religious leaders, including Archbishops Mannix and Pell, to influential media and social commentators such as Kerry Packer and Phillip Adams. In the 1940s Santamaria created the Movement in Australia, an anti-Communist organisation, and these letters reveal that he also operated the Movement for decades throughout Asia. He was a key figure in the tumultuous split in the 1950s of the Australian Labour Party and subsequently had much influence as a public commentator on his television program Point of View and his weekly column in the Australian. Santamaria had a strong social conscience and spent much of his time helping the underprivileged, and although he began as an advocate and champion of the Catholic Church, he spent much of his last decades opposing some of its activities. By the 1990s B.A. Santamaria was the only person still active in politics who had been involved in public life before World War II and in the immediate postwar years. The letters offer a rare glimpse into a mind that was preoccupied for more than six decades with world events and ideological controversies.

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