Two of the ABC’s most admired radio presenters have published books that are perfect holiday reading: Richard Fidler’s Ghost Empire and Jim Maxwell’s The Sound of Summer. For ten years Fidler has presented Conversations with Richard Fidler, an hour-long interview program on both local radio and Radio National; it is claimed as the most popular podcast in Australia being downloaded more than 1.8 million times a month.
Ghost Empire is not a standard work of history but is Fidler’s account of the Byzantine Empire centred on Constantinople which he merges with a gently observed father-son journey of discovery to modern Istanbul. It is popular, accessible history; those of us not sufficiently familiar with the great sweep of the Byzantine story can be grateful for Fidler’s entry-level approach which is critically described as factually well-based.
The Sound of Summer brings us reassuringly back home with an autobiography by Jim Maxwell, ‘the voice of Australian cricket’. Maxwell started with ABC radio in 1973; he is valued for his knowledge conveyed with such clarity and effortless style, his warmth, his generosity of spirit. Maxwell’s memoir incorporates the modern history of Australian cricket given a vivid sense of time and place through his lifelong attachment to the sport. He has covered six tours of the West Indies, seven to the sub-continent, over 50 Ashes tests and seven World cups.
This book is the real thing from a master.
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