By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography
By Julian Assange (Text Publishing, $29.95, softcover, 339 pages)
The unauthorised first draft was published to honour the contract with Australian WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
This is a portrait of a man who has polarised opinion, but has also changed the world.
The publisher claims that the book is “passionate, provocative and opinionated— like the author”.
Drawn from 50 hours of taped interview/monologue by Assange, these are the words of Julian Assange, as interpreted by ghost writer Andrew O’Hagan.
It is a perceptive and personal account of Assange where the first half is sensibly strong highlighting his childhood, his hippy boyhood in northern Queensland, entrée into the world of hacking and advancing to WikiLeaks. Darkness hits at nine years of age when Assange’s mother and stepfather split up.
The text becomes something of an aimless rant in the second part, providing scant accurate knowledge, as it glides into recent events that include the Iceland venture, Cablegate, early triumphs of the group and the two warlogs.
There’s a potent section in which Assange, perhaps unintentionally, reveals why he seeks out obedient disciples and quarrels with so many others: “Opponents past and present have the same essential weakness about them—first they want to use you, then they want to be you, then they want to snuff you out. It’s a pattern that stretches in my life from toytown feds to hacks at the Guardian … Usually it ends with these people enumerating one’s personal faults, a shocking, ungrateful, unmanly effort, to be filed under despicable in my book … I’ve been meeting [these people] all my life.”
The first half is more engaging, has passion and a sheer human presence.
This memoir, which reveals a deeply flawed and inspiring character, can be read as a “literary interpretation of a conversation”.
Edition 406, 22 April 2014
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.