The Year Everything Changed: 2001 by Phillipa McGuinness
Phillipa McGuinness is no stranger to books; she is, after all, a publisher. This, however, is her debut as an author and hopefully it will not be her last. The Year Everything Changed: 2001 is a record of an enormously horrendous year. McGuinness is correct: 2001 was the year that so many things changed politically and economically, globally and in our own country.
I was living out of Australia that year, and I was astounded as I read my way through chapters on the months in which so much transpired that transformed the way we live in Australia right now. Not only did OneTel fall apart, but also the iPod came into our lives (the beginning of the end of how we listen to music), John Howard seemed his most ferocious on the issue of refugees, and of course then there was September. A whole chapter is dedicated to the heartbreak of 9/11 and truly it seems extraordinary that it was only 15 years ago when we all stopped, wherever we were, in our shared horror at what was happening at the Twin Towers.
McGuinness has considerable skill in making the political and historical personal. She begins the book with her own story of heartbreak, and her voice is present throughout. Like all good anthropologists, she is not afraid to lay down her mark.McGuinness, here in this record of the year, also does not shy away from the emotional complexity of our humanity. Rather, she opens it up for us to gaze in wonder at a year that was not so long ago and affected so much of our way of living.