Panic (noun). A sudden uncontrollable fear or anxiety, often causing wildly unthinking behaviour.
Australians see themselves as a relaxed and tolerant bunch. But scratch the surface and you’ll uncover an extraordinary level of fear.
Cronulla. Henson. Hanson. Wik. Haneef. The Boats. ...
Panic shows all of David Marr’s characteristic insight, quick wit and brilliant prose as he cuts through the froth and fury that have kept Australia simmering over the last fifteen years.
“Turning fear into panic is a great political art: knowing how to stack the bonfire, where to find the kindling, when to slosh on a bucket of kero to set the whole thing off with a satisfying roar ... These are dispatches from the republic of panic, stories of fear and fear-mongering under three prime ministers. Some chart panic on the rise and others pick through the wreckage left behind, but all grew out of my wish to honour the victims of these ugly episodes: the people damaged and a damaged country.” -David Marr
Praise for Panic:
'for those who deplore such panics ... this is a good tonic' - Jack Waterford, Canberra Times
'The effectiveness of Marr's writing lies in his ability to stand back and offer sweet reasonableness in the fact of events that other reporters would happily play for populist hysteria.' - Sydney Morning Herald
'David Marr is not on the list of Australian living treasures, but perhaps he should be. Among our best journalists, he stands out as someone who has consistently challenged the powerful, at his best with forensic skill and deep research.' - Dennis Altman, Australian Book Review
'Panic is clever, intelligently exposing the language of Marr's right-wing adversaries while separating political rhetoric from political reality.' - West Australian
About the author:
David Marr has written for the Sydney Morning Herald, the Age and the Monthly, been editor of the National Times, a reporter for Four Corners, presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch and now writes for the Guardian. His books include Patrick White: A Life, The High Price of Heaven, Dark Victory (with Marian Wilkinson) and three Quarterly Essays: His Master’s Voice, Power Trip and Political Animal.