This article about a book, and about the man whose life the book describes, is not in any ordinary sense a book review. The recently published volume is called W. Macmahon Ball: Politics for the People. The author is Ai Kobayashi, whose research and writing have been conducted at Melbourne University’s quaintly-named School of Historical and Philosophical Studies. Her book is published by the rising Melbourne firm Australian Scholarly Publishing, already recognised for its outstanding design and elegant production. As for the book’s subject, if any Australian qualifies for full biographical treatment, it is “Mac” Ball (1901–86): how many of…

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