AUSTRALIAN TRAGIC - Jack Marx
The blurb of this book really really intrigued me - and it's true there are stories that I've heard of, some I knew a lot about, some simply rang a bit of a bell. There were others that I knew absolutely nothing about. As the blurb goes on to say, they range across our past and our present: the heartbreaking story of the fire at Luna Park; the unstoppable opportunist who snatched innocent men and women from Palm Island to be part of P.T. Barnum's 'Greatest Show on Earth'; a world-class boxer who lost his battle with alcohol and ended up in an unmarked American grave; Steve Irwin, who was written off as a joke by the media, only to be hailed as a hero by the same media on his sudden death; and a man who heroically survived a war to find himself crushed and defeated by events much closer to home.
Sounds intriguing doesn't it. A real page turner. And most of the stories are intriguing, or enlightening, and there were some moments of real analysis and taut observation (such as the Steve Irwin story), but mostly, I found the book hard going. I think, in the end, the over-melodramatic storytelling style dragged the whole thing out. It made the reading of most of the stories overly difficult and the style took away too much from the content. Which is a pity. There's some history in this book that should have stood out more.
Here are stories from Australia's Dark Heart: of catastrophe and misfortune, intrigue and passion, betrayal and tragedy. Some you may think you know - others, you have never heard of - but all will capture your imagination.