Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: MATESHIP by Nick Dryenfurth

MateshipFrom the back of the book:
In the first book-length exploration of our secular creed, one of Australia’s leading young historians and public commentators turns mateship’s history upside down. Did you know that the first Australians to call each other ‘mate’ were business partners? Or that many others thought that mateship would be the basis for creating an entirely new society, namely a ‘socialist’ one? For some, the term ‘mate’ is ‘the nicest word in the English language’; while for others it represents the very worst features in our nation’s culture: conformity, bullying, corruption, racism, and misogyny. So what does mateship really mean?

My Review:
MATESHIP cleverly and concisely chronicles the colorful Australian colloquialism from it's early iteration and kindred-spirit like inception in early settler outback folklore through to the patriotism-inspired political wordplay commonplace in the Hawke and Howard Governments. 

Author Nick Dtrenfurth goes to great lengths, extensively researching and unearthing propaganda material from WWI, poetry, literature, and film references to mateship - what it means, how it's perceived, how it segregates and units gender/races. 

I found a lot of the material interesting and insightful. Mateship is ambiguous and can hold differing meaning for individuals all varying by their independent association of the word largely driven by their predicament and/or walk(s) of life. 

MATESHIP details the broad and at times over-inflated use of the term for both the honest (support a mate who is down on his luck) and slightly skewed (war time propaganda or as a mechanism to dredge early Union membership drives) purpose though maintaining a neutral stance.   
Clocking in at a tick over 200pgs, MATESHIP is easily readable, coming across more like a series of essays with linked themes segued from chapter to chapter. Readers curious about the history and Australian adaptation of mateship should pick this up. 

Publication date: 5 January 2015

You can find out more about MATESHIP and purchase the book from publisher Scribe's website:

http://scribepublications.com.au/books-authors/title/mateship/

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