A Fuhrer for a Father : The Domestic Face of Colonialism
'I was written out of the family story. This book is my attempt to write myself, and my mother, back into it.' In this singular memoir, historian and biographer Jim Davidson writes about his fraught relationship with his authoritarian and controlling father, whose South African background and time in Papua New Guinea and Fiji prompted his own post-war mini-empire of dominance. A manipulative and emotionally ferocious man, he rejects his son and creates a second family, shutting Jim out and eventually disinheriting him, but never really leaving him alone. Traversing territory across Australia, South Africa, India and London, this beautifully written book tells of a time of crushing conformity, sharply reminding us that some experiences can never be written out of our personal histories. Sales Points* Literary memoirs of men uncovering the dynamics of their families are popular - e.g. Richard Glover, Tim Elliott in Australia* Increased interest in queer memoir, i.e. experiences of people coming out as gay or queer, especially in contexts where acceptance or understanding is limited* Jim Davidson writes with a historian's eye for the personal impact of grand historical forces, and the undercurrents of how powerfully relationships can shape lives* Released for Father's Day in Australia - an antidote to ads for biographies of sporting heroes
'The book calls into question the popular myth that the family is a nurturing and loving place and reminds us, in timely fashion, that families can be destructive and dangerous environments. Davidson gives us a vivid and disturbing portrait of a family in which no one knows how to love properly.' - Alex Miller
Jim Davidson is a historian, biographer and former editor of Meanjin (1975-82). He has been an academic and an opera critic, and the author of two prize-winning biographies Lyrebird Rising: Louise Hanson-Dyer of Oiseau-Lyre, 1884-1962 and A Three-Cornered Life: The historian WK Hancock. The latter won the Prime Minister's Prize for History, a Western Australian Premier's Award and the Age Book of the Year for non-fiction. He is also the co-author of Holiday Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870 (2000) and Moments in Time: A book of Australian postcards (2016).