Melbourne University Press has just published a book containing the selected correspondence of B.A. Santamaria, founder of the National Civic Council.
Edited by Victorian writer and academic, Patrick Morgan, the Santamaria letters cover an extraordinary 60 years in public life, and show facets of his character not hitherto revealed.
The letters are both personal and professional, and in them he speaks frankly on matters of church, state and family and he is revealed as a person more subtle in his views than his public persona would suggest.
His correspondents included religious leaders, such as Archbishops Mannix and Pell, prominent politicians, like Malcolm Fraser, Bill Hayden and Clyde Cameron, and influential media and social commentators like Kerry Packer and Phillip Adams.
The book lends new insights into controversies in which Bob Santamaria was deeply involved, from his work with the National Catholic Rural Movement in the 1940s and '50s, the struggle against communism in the trade unions, the Labor "split" which led to the formation of the DLP, and his emergence in the 1980s and 1990s as a foremost critic of unbridled capitalism.
All people with an interest in the history of the Movement, Labor history and the role of the Catholic church in public life will find this book a fascinating insight into the mind of one of the most original thinkers Australia has produced, and one of the most important figures in 20th century Australia.
Copies of the book may be ordered from Freedom Publishing for $49.95. The online bookstore is at www.freedompublishing.com.au