The 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games have become known as the ‘Friendly Games’, but East-West rivalry ensured that they were anything but friendly. From the bloody semi-final water polo match between the USSR and Hungary, during which blood seen in the water, to the athletes who defected to the West, sport and politics collided during the Cold War. Harry Blutstein’s Cold War Games shows vividly how the USSR and US exploited the Melbourne Olympic Games for propaganda, turning athletic fields, swimming pools and other sporting venues into battlefields in which each fought for supremacy.
There were glimmers of peace and solidarity. War Games also tells the love story between Czechoslovak discus thrower Olga Fikotova and American hammer thrower Hal Connolly, and their struggle to overcome Cold War politics to marry.
Cold War Games is a lively, landmark book, with fresh information from ASIO files and newly discovered documents from archives in the USSR, US and Hungary, revealing secret operations in Melbourne, and showing just how pivotal the 1956 Olympic Games were for the great powers of the Cold War.
THE REMARKABLE STORY OF A CHAMPION AUSSIE HORSEMAN
In March 2016 Peter Moody, the man who took his ‘good mare’ Black Caviar to an unprecedented 25 straight victories, walked away from racing. Suspended for six months after he was found to have presented a horse on race day with an illegal level of cobalt in its system, the trainer made the drastic decision to close down his Caulfield stables altogether. How had it come to this?
In Moods, respected journalist Helen Thomas traces Moody’s extraordinary career, and shines a spotlight on the cobalt scandal that engulfed him. Through interviews with family, colleagues and friends, and with Peter Moody himself, Thomas explores the horseman’s life and achievements: from his time with turf legend T.J. Smith to the day he first noticed the bay filly who grew up to become Black Caviar, and the inquiry that led him to quit the job he loves.
Articulate yet reticent, tough yet sensitive, Moody is an intriguing character. For the first time, discover what drives the man who will always be remembered as Black Caviar’s trainer, and a true Aussie legend.
HELEN THOMAS has worked as a journalist for more than thirty years in both radio and print. She is the manager of ABC NewsRadio as well as being a thoroughbred breeder and racehorse owner. For her books, see below.
The Horse that Bart Built
As a youngster, So You Think caught the eye of Australia’s legendary trainer Bart Cummings. He liked the future he saw in his gangly frame, and So You Think soon captivated Australasia with his brilliance, strength and rockstar good looks.
At just his fifth race start, he led all the way to win the prestigious W. S. Cox Plate. A year later, he became the only horse to win the race as a three- and four-year-old. So You Think was so good, in fact, the racing world took notice — with breeding giant Coolmore eventually making an offer too big to refuse.
But in a move that stunned his fans, the sale saw the horse transferred from Bart’s stable in Melbourne to Aidan O’Brien’s famous yard in Ireland. Now retired to stud, he is the most successful Australasian thoroughbred to grace the international stage, racing in six different countries for a final tally often Group One victories, five in each hemisphere. But wherever he goes, and whatever he achieves as a stallion, So You Think will always be the horse that Bart built.
Life With Rosie
Life with Rosie charts the blossoming of a young thoroughbred — and Helen’s rite of passage as one of thousands of owners across Australia hoping that all the hard work, and just a little bit of luck, will lead her horse to racetrack success.
Helen’s great passion is for horses and racing and this has spawned a number of highly successful and entertaining books on the subject.
Past the Post: What Great Horses do When they Leave the Race Track – ABC Books 2004.
A Horse Called Mighty – Random House 2007.
42 Days at the Races – Allen and Unwin 2008.
Helen Thomas has worked as a journalist for more than thirty years in both radio and print, and is an experienced presenter and producer. She is the manager of ABC NewsRadio as well as being a thoroughbred horse breeder and racehorse owner.
One of Australia’s most highly acclaimed and versatile writers, Malcolm Knox
has published many books.
What’s the worst thing that can happen to a man with three secret families? He falls in love.
This is the story of John Wonder, a man with three families, each one kept secret from the other, each one containing two children, a boy and a girl. As he travels from family to family in different cities, he works as an Authenticator, verifying world records, confirming facts, setting things straight, while his own life is a teetering tower of astonishing lies and betrayals. The Wonder Lover is a stunning novel that again and magnificently confirms Malcolm Knox as one of our brightest stars, an imaginative tour de force that ranks alongside the best work of Nabokov, Amis, Ireland and Carey.
‘It is a compulsive and thrilling read, a dazzling achievement. There is a word that should be used very rarely but I believe is absolutely right for this book: The Wonder Lover is superb.’ — Christos Tsiolkas, author of The Slap.
Bradman’s War told how the 1948 invincibles turned the cricket pitch into a battlefield. The Australian and English Test cricketers who fought and survived together in World War II came home knowing the difference between sport and war. They planned to resume the Ashes in a new spirit of friendship. Australia’s legendary captain had something else in mind.
World Rights: Penguin Australia
Novel: The Life
Now bloated and paranoid, former champion surfer and legend Dennis Keith is holed up in a retirement village, shuffling to the shop for an ice lolly every day, barely existing behind his aviator sunnies and crazy OCD rules, and trying not to think about the waves he’d made his own and the breaks he once ruled like a god. Out of the blue, a young would-be biographer comes knocking and stirs up memories he thought he’d buried. It takes Dennis a while to realise that she’s not there to write his story at all. The Life has been published by Allen and Unwin in Australia and Allen and Unwin/ Atlantic Books in the UK.
‘(his) new novel, The Life, is alternately evocative and lacerating, tender and unflinching, a gloriously honest, brutal and moving story of a man who was at the top of his game and then pissed it all away… Malcolm Knox is one of the best novelists writing in the world today.’ — Christos Tsiolkas
‘Funny, heartbreaking and humane, The Life confirms what the Literary Review has known all along — Knox is, quite simply a fabulous writer’.
Malcolm was named as one of 2001’s Best Young Novelists by the Sydney Morning Herald for his first novel, Summerland, which was published by Random House in 2004 and sold into the U.K. and U.S.A by Picador. It was published in Germany, Italy, Argentina and The Netherlands.
He is the author of eleven previous books including the novels Summerland, Adult Book, winner of a Ned Kelly Award, and Jamaica (Random House Australia, 2007) winner of the Colin Roderick Award. His nonfiction books include Secrets of the Jury Room and Scattered: The Inside Story of Ice in Australia. Formerly literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald, he has twice won Walkley awards for journalism and been runner-up for the Australian Journalist of the Year award. He lives in Sydney with his wife and two children.
“As a remembrance of things past, Knox’s novel is exquisite, blending a lyricism and exuberance of language with subtle undertones that point towards the denouement… Summerland works on many levels and Knox is, quite simply, a fabulous writer.” — Literary Review, UK
Scattered, the terrifying story of ‘ice’ or “speed” in Australia, was published by Allen and Unwin in 2008.
Never a Gentlemen’s Game
Cricket in the early years was fraught with often violent Australian-English rivalry, gambling, match-fixing, cheating and bitter politics. It was cricket in the raw. Full of colourful characters and with a genuine affection for the legends of the day — players like WG Grace, Fred Spofforth and Victor Trumper are among those finely drawn by Malcolm Knox — Never a Gentlemen’s Game brings to life the crusades against chucking; the short and often tragic lives of many of the early Test cricketers; the riots on the field, and fisticuffs behind the scenes; and the lust for money on all sides.