A Life in Words: the late Les Carlyon


A Life in Words

Collected writings from Gallipoli to the Melbourne Cup

By Les Carlyon
Published by Allen & Unwin
RRP $39.99 in hardback  |  ISBN 9781760879723

The late Les Carylon will be remembered as a gifted storyteller whose subjects ranged far and wide.

His career in newspapers was stellar – he became editor of The Age at thirty-three and went on to become editor in chief of The Herald & Weekly Times. But he was always much more about the written word than about management, winning two Walkley Awards and the coveted Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award in a career where he covered everything from politics to horse racing.

In military history, he will be remembered for two books: Gallipoli (2001) and The Great War (2006).

This final collection of his writing features an eclectic mix of short pieces including ‘Why history matters’ (it does, he argues), ‘Hirohito: each-way punter’ (the most successful each-way punter of the century, according to Carlyon, who was obsessed with horse racing) and ‘The battles of Beevor’ (a wry look at a noted British war historian), among other pieces.

If you loved Les Carlyon’s books, then you’ll want to read this collection.

Throughout it all, you get the very strong sense of his subtle wit and feet-on-the-ground attitude to life. I am sure many readers were saddened by his death at the age of 76.

Fortunately he leaves behind a written legacy for us all to enjoy.

RIP Les Carlyon

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