An Inconvenient Truth
The Book of Revelation
Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire.
The Heart of James McAuley

Ticking time bomb

An Inconvenient Truth
by Al Gore

Humanity is sitting on a ticking time bomb. If the vast majority of the world's scientists are right, there are just 10 years in which to avert a major catastrophe that could send the planet into a tail-spin of epic destruction involving extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics and killer heat waves beyond anything that has ever experienced.

The promotional material for Al Gore’s groundbreaking book, An Inconvenient Truth, says that the book brings together leading-edge research from top scientists around the world, as well as photographs, charts, and other illustrations to document the reality of global warming, sounding a warning bell for action before it’s too late.

Filled with personal anecdotes and observations about how this issue has become a central focus in Mr Gore’s life - and why he believes it is the crucial issue of our time - An Inconvenient Truth argues that global warming is not just about science, nor is it just a political issue: it is a moral issue and we have a responsibility to do something about it. The book is said to be “accessible, entertaining, and thorough” and an unique reference for anyone who wants more information about global warming as well a guidebook for those who want to join the fight.

As well as the book there is also the film of the same name from director Davis Guggenheim which offers a passionate and inspirational look at one man's fervent crusade to halt global warming's deadly progress in its tracks by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. That man is former Vice President Al Gore, who, in the wake of defeat in the 2000 election, re-set the course of his life to focus on a last-ditch, all-out effort to help save the planet from irrevocable change.

According to Joshua Gans, economist and CoRE economics blogger, the movie is aimed at nine to 14 year olds. He says that for everyone else, there is not a lot new:  “You don’t need to see this movie to make yourself more aware. What you need to do is take your children to see it.”

The Book of Revelation
Starring: Starring Tom Long, Greta Scacchi, Colin Friels.
Directed by Ana Kokkinos.
117 mins.  Rating: R - high level language, violence and sex scenes.

Based on the novel of the same name by Rupert Thomson, Daniel (Long) is a ballet dancer at the peak of his career. His partner on and off the stage is the aloof Bridget (Anna Torvil). During a break in rehearsals she sends Daniel out for a packet of cigarettes. While on this errand he is abducted. Over the next 12 days he is raped and tortured by three masked and cowled women. After they dump Daniel in an industrial block, he makes it home a broken man. Daniel cannot tell anyone what has happened to him; in fact he can barely speak. To save his sanity he sets out to find the three anonymous women whose evil actions have robbed him of his humanity.

The only reason to review this film here to make sure that viewers understand that The Book of Revelation has nothing to do with the real thing.  Very few viewers will want to receive this revelation.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ is the director of the Australian Catholic Film Office.

Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire.
Documentary film produced and directed by Jeremy Earp and Sut Jhally.
68 minutes.

This film is a real rant. As sympathetic as many people might be to its agenda, there is no careful weighing of the arguments here. Hijacking Catastrophe is a strident, angry attack on the Bush administration, its agenda in Afghanistan and Iraq, and its manipulation of public fears and perceptions.

Almost exclusively a talking heads documentary, its 68 minutes passes swiftly enough, though it might be better suited to television than the cinema. And it would have been stronger if its passionately held thesis was tested by a dialogue between the protagonists in this debate. My hunch is that the filmmakers Jeremy Earp and Sut Jhally think the other side has had more than enough airplay.

As it is Hijacking Catastrophe makes a valuable one-sided contribution to understanding some of the issues in a post-9/11 world. My concern is that its tone will be appreciated by those already converted by its argument.

Fr Richard Leonard SJ

However, Karen Kwiatkowski (Lt. Col. USAF retired), one of the presenters in the film, describes it as powerful, understated, straightforward and educational”.

It is also available as a book of the same title.

(for longer reviews of these, and other current films, click here)


The Heart of James McAuley
by Peter Coleman
with a foreword by R.J. Stove
Connor Court.  ISBN: 0975801562
160 pages, $29.95 (inc GST)

The Heart of James McAuley examines the work of the famous poet, editor, critic, and political thinker. It places the poetry in its biographical context – from his anarchistic and avant-garde youth to the libertarian conservative and Catholic convert of later years. It takes a new look at the great Ern Malley hoax, his profound essays on the decolonisation of New Guinea, his association with such major figures as B.A. Santamaria and Sir John Kerr, his involvement with the industrial groups in the ALP and with the DLP, his founding of the magazine, Quadrant, and his response to a number of controversies from the CIA scandals to the New Left assaults on the universities. No other biography of McAuley encompasses all the wide-ranging activities of this great poet.

Its author, Peter Coleman, was James McAuley’s co-editor of Quadrant from 1967 until McAuley’s death in 1976. He continued as editor until 1990. He was also editor of The Bulletin. He served in the New South Wales Parliament between 1968 and 1978 and in the Federal Parliament between 1981 and 1987. His books include the autobiographical Memoirs of a Slow Learner and a history of Australian censorship, Obscenity Blasphemy Sedition. He was born in Melbourne in December 1928. His tertiary education took him to the Sydney University and the London School of Economics. He is married to Verna Coleman, the biographer of Miles Franklin and Adela Pankhurst.

The Heart of James McAuley will be launched by Fr Paul Stenhouse msc, Editor of The Annals, at Brennan Hall, St John's College, Sydney University, on Friday, September 22    (further information:  Portico Books: 02 9980 8836  or email  


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