By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
A Thinking Reed
By Barry Jones (Allen & Unwin, $35.00, softcover, 561 pages)
Spanning a remarkable career, this is one autobiography that is principally about a “prodigious public life” – of an extraordinarily gifted Australian.
An “incurable optimist... striving for the universal and theoretical”, Barry Owen Jones has “a mixture of deep curiosity, persistence... and aspired to an encyclopedic range and depth of knowledge”.
The breath of his life’s experiences is never-ending: teacher, lawyer, writer, quiz champion, politician, a prophet, an advocate – and it will have you wondering why he finds it difficult to write about himself.
The reasons are there, however, from the trials and tribulations of life, family hardships that leave an indelible mark, loneliness of a child without many friends and the search for love, obscured by being “emotionally inhibited, if not numb”.
This is an enlightening memoir of a man who not only has wide-ranging wisdom, but maintains his fervour and shares what he calls “the abundant life” with sophisticated eloquence.
Barry Jones has worked tirelessly to build a better Australia and to improve and preserve our heritage, to revive the nation’s film industry and to rethink education.
A Thinking Reed sheds light on many prominent names and reveals insights into the political process, but above all he delves into the mind and presents some passionately clever insights into philosophy, history, literature and music.
This “living national treasure” is a man of many accomplishments, whose clever insights open windows to the world and his place in it.
While written in an engaging format, this much-admired politician is obsessed with organising information and keeping detailed lists.
It’s a worthy odyssey through a bountiful life with an ‘Afterword’, in particular, that’s deeply moving.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.