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George Henry Johnston Biography

(1912–70), Sun, My Brother Jack, Clean Straw For Nothing, A Cartload of Clay

Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Tama Janowitz Biography to P(atrick) J(oseph Gregory) Kavanagh Biography

Australian novelist, born in Melbourne. A journalist, reporting from several battle zones, he wrote five books about different aspects of the Second World War. He was appointed European editor for the Sydney Sun in 1950, and from 1954 he spent ten years in Greece. The trilogy of novels published at the end of his career constitute his best work; largely autobiographical, they also show an important shift in Australian consciousness. My Brother Jack (1964) summarizes, in Jack, the epitome of the Australian male in the nationalist and post-Anzac period; it is the intellectual, David, second-rate by that standard, who succeeds, lionized for his war journalism. Clean Straw For Nothing (1969) records disillusioning, expatriate, middle years. The unfinished A Cartload of Clay (1971) reconciles the returned expatriate to the limitations of his land. Johnston wrote thrillers as ‘Shane Martin’, and also two travel books and three novels with his wife, the journalist Charmian Clift. Johnston and Clift's stories were collected in Strong Man from Pireaus (1984).

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