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  • Writer's picturepeter grose


Back in 2008, when I was writing An Awkward Truth about the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese in 1942, I foolishly wrote: 'It is perhaps unfair to compare the way Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (top picture, above) took command in New York after 9/11 and the way Aubrey Abbott

(lower picture, above) failed to get a grip in Darwin.' Abbott was the government-appointed Adninistrator of the Northern Territory of Australia. He was also chairman of the Darwin Defence Committee and Commissioner of Police. I admonished Abbott thus: 'He was unquestionably the man in charge.'

Since then Rudy Guiliani has descended fom being 'America's mayor' to being America's buffoon-in-chief. It would be in the interests of symmetry to say that while Rudy was toppling, Aubrey Abbott was on the rise. Not so. Both men are now together at the bottom of the barrel.

So what's the problem, you might well ask? The answer is that the book is still in print. I've totally lost count but it is probably in its 20th edition. So why keep printing this embarrassing nonsense?

I have repeartedly asked my publishers to allow me to drop Guiliani from the book, and they have steadfastly refused, arguing that the cost of 'repagination' made the whole exercise a waste of money.

Well maybe. The whole story is about 30 words on p203 of a 272-page book. If any reader of this blog can come up with an internationally recognised figure who held firm against great difficulties, whose actions can be told in 30 words, please write to me at

I will be forever in your debt. Forget Churchill. Not even Abbott would welcome that comparison.

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