Friday, August 16, 2013

Michael Fullilove

Michael Fullilove is the executive director of the Lowy Institute in Sydney, Australia, and the author of Rendezvous with Destiny: How Franklin D. Roosevelt and Five Extraordinary Men Took America into the War and into the World (The Penguin Press, 2013).

The Financial Times said Rendezvous with Destiny is “desperately romantic and impossibly consequential… a rare combination of diplomatic thriller and original history, well-paced and expertly told.” The Wall Street Journal declared: “Mr Fullilove infuses each chapter with the danger, romance and deadly seriousness of war.” The Weekend Australian called Rendezvous with Destiny “an unforgettable book… one of the most fascinating works of history I have read in many years.” Time said it is “real Team of Rivals stuff: smart, engaging, historical storytelling.”

Recently I asked the author about what he was reading. Fullilove's reply:
I have almost finished Colum McCann’s wonderful novel TransAtlantic. It is that rare literary novel that will appeal as much to nonfiction readers as fiction readers, and to men as much as women. TransAtlantic describes the journeys of a series of real-life visitors from North America to Ireland – Jack Alcock and Arthur Brown, who made the first non-stop flight across the Atlantic in 1919; Frederick Douglass, who undertook a lecture tour of Ireland in 1845-46, during the Great Famine; and George Mitchell, who negotiated the Good Friday peace agreement in Northern Ireland in 1998. I’d love to know what Senator Mitchell thinks of McCann’s efforts to reconstruct his interior life. The female characters who link these men across the centuries are equally strong.

The book has drawn some flak from critics but I find it moving in its portrayal of the remarkable courage and imagination of all these transatlantic voyagers.

Piled on the bedside table are Robert Macfarlane’s The Wild Places, Richard Flanagan’s new novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and a series of recent speeches that I’m considering for inclusion in the second edition of Men and Women of Australia: Our Greatest Modern Speeches.
Visit Michael Fullilove's website.

Writers Read: Michael Fullilove (May 2007).

--Marshal Zeringue