Category Archives: Books

Evelyn and Alastair

Two more essays from Duncan McLaren’s Evelyn Waugh website. The information about Waugh’s and Graham’s relationship I have not read anywhere summarised in this way. As fascinating as ever. What a sad end for Alastair Graham.

The relationship between Evelyn Waugh and Alastair Graham in Evelyn concluded or ask Alastair

Evelyn Waugh and Alastair set out on trip to north of England and into Scotland Evelyn and Alastair’s Grand Tour

REVIEW Tony Abbott book

Just repeating that I have received a review for TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION:

‘IF YOU WONDER how we got to where we are on the shifting sands of political correctness (and who doesn’t) this book is for you. Gerard Charles Wilson, author of Prison Hulk to Redemption (2015) is the kind of biographer who is a more interesting than his hero Tony Abbott (see James Boswell, Laird of Auchinleck and Sam Johnson, Doctor of Bolt Court, off Fleet Street)…

‘Wilson’s work may not necessarily commend itself to left-wing Honi Soitistes, but it should be on the library shelves of all Catholic universities and senior schools for its corrective attitude to the student politics of the last century and this one.’

Read the full review HERE.

Update of the Abbott book

I have completed a six-month update of TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION.

In addition to the review received (see recent blog), I had feedback that the book was unnecessarily long.

I have removed all text not directly related to the book’s three intertwined themes: the character of former Prime Minister Tony Abbott as displayed in his fearless no-holds battle with the far-left radicals at Sydney University (1976-1980); what it means to be a philosophical conservative in a leftist world; and the author’s critique of the student rebellion and the radicalism driving it. The author lived through the tumultuous years of the 1960s and 1970s revolution.

TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION is as much about the author as about Tony Abbott.

Duncan McLaren on Evelyn Waugh and George Orwell

More than six months ago I received a link to Duncan McLaren’s latest  (what shall I call it?) meandering musings on Evelyn Waugh. At the time I was bogged down with writing TONY ABBOTT AND THE TIMES OF REVOLUTION and did not have the mental space to read and post the link.  I have now got around it.

Duncan’s writings are for the extreme Waugh lover. Prepare for a wild ride. He had received a letter from someone who mentioned a meeting between Waugh and George Orwell. Duncan’s imagination took flight. Enjoy.

WHEN WAUGH MET ORWELL or “DOUBLEPLUSGOOD, JEEVES” 

Book Review

INFILTRATION: THE PLOT TO DESTROY THE CHURCH FROM WITHIN
Taylor R Marshall
Crisis Publications
An imprint of Sophia Institute Press
Manchester, New Hampshire
Pub. 31 May 2019

Dr Taylor Marshall’s book Infiltration: The Plot to Destroy the Church from within aims to uncover the forces within the Catholic Church seeking its destruction. The destruction aimed for, though, is not obliteration. The Catholic Church is far too important as a moral and political power to obliterate. The destruction is in the form of a fundamental or ontological change, the change from one substance to its opposite, the change from the Church of Jesus Christ to the church of Lucifer, the Angel of Light and the Prince of Darkness. It is crucial to understand that the forces of Lucifer are people and ideas. Some agents are conscious and purposeful in their subversion. Others, naive or self-deceived or easily led, drive those ideas. If I were to name the outstanding feature of Dr Marshall’s book, I would say it’s the revelation of those people of influence, many of good will, who unwittingly or blindly clear the way for those intent on destroying the Church as it is and ever has been.

Continue reading Book Review

A brief remark on style

While I agree in principle that fiction writers should avoid the passive voice and choose a strong verb in instead of resorting to adverbs, the passive voice and adverbs are functional part of the English language, and I use them when required by the shade of the narrative. I take my example from Evelyn Waugh who, it was said, never wrote a bad sentence. Take this sentence in Decline and Fall (chapter 9 about sports day). There were accusations of cheating:

No one spoke of the race, but outraged sportsmanship glinted perilously in every eye.

Would Waugh’s meaning be the same – have the same force – if one removed ‘perilously’ ? Or what verb could replace the already descriptive ‘glinted’ and convey the same meaning?

Short synopsis of ‘In Times of Distress’

On ‘My Books‘ page I have posted a short synopsis of the first book in the Winterbine Tetralogy. I am more than halfway through the writing and am confident of a release date in December 2019.

IN TIMES OF DISTRESS
Book One of the Winterbine Tetralogy.
Fr Jos van Engelen, a Dutch missionary priest stationed in New Guinea, is recalled to Holland in March 1940 to help the Superior-General in combating suspected subversion within the order. At the German invasion of Holland, he is drawn into dangerous covert operations against the Nazis which results in the execution of close collaborators. While in Amsterdam, he saves a young woman and her baby from being crushed in a stampede. It’s the start of a relationship with the young woman and a deadly tussle with her occultist husband. At the same time, he enters into a running conflict with the same subversive elements within his order. The conflict comes to a head during the Second Vatican Council, the result of which is his expulsion to Binawarra, a small country town in Australia. In a parallel plot, Anneke van Engelen, the priest’s niece, goes astray during the student radicalism of the 1960s with disastrous consequences. Fr van Engelen and Anneke van Engelen feature in THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS, book three of the Winterbine tetralogy.


The ‘Goddess’, neo-paganism, the occult and Gnosticism are introduced as the themes of the Winterbine series. The ideological conflicts of the 1960s and 1970s form the background.
Publication December 2019
More information HERE.