Review Blog

Jan 22 2015

Banjo: The man who wrote Waltzing Matilda by Paul Terry

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317976
(Age: Upper primary - Secondary) Marking 150 years since the birth of one of Australia's iconic writers in 1864, Paul Terry has written the biography on A.B. (Banjo) Paterson. As we focus on his time in our history as we commemorate World War 1 (Paterson was a war correspondent for the Boer War and served as a remount officer in WWI despite already being 50 at its outbreak) Terry not only examines Paterson's life but also the people and the circumstances that influenced him. It is these encounters which formed the backbone of his writing, producing the bush ballads that are part of the Australian psyche.
This is a very readable biography which looks at the man, his family and friends and his life rather than more common literary criticism of his work, yet still clearly showing the factors that influenced his writing. Students who have discovered The man from Snowy River, Mulga's Bill's bicycle, The bush christening and Clancy of the Overflow and who want to know about the man behind the words will love this.
Barbara Braxton

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