An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark – Mark McKenna (Melbourne University Publishing)
An Eye for Eternity paints a sweeping portrait of the man who gave Australians the signature account of their own history. It tells of his friendships with Patrick White and Sidney Nolan. It details an urgent and dynamic marriage, ripped apart at times by Clark’s constant need for extramarital romantic love, a son who wrote letters to his dead parents, a historian who placed narrative ahead of facts, a doubter who flirted with Catholicism, a controversial public figure who marked slights and criticisms with deeply held grudges.
Mark McKenna is a research fellow in History at the University of Sydney, he is the author of several prize winning books, including Looking for Blackfellas’ Point: an Australian History of Place which won the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction and Book of the Year in the 2003 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
This is a masterful biography, a deeply compassionate portrait of a complex and flawed man. With a biographer’s literary skill and an historian’s diligence, Mark McKenna offers a rounded, humane treatment of Australia’s best-known historian, encompassing both Manning Clark’s life and work. This wise, clear-eyed portrait of perhaps our most influential historian is essential reading for all Australians seeking to understand the transformation of Australian cultural nationalism in the second half of the twentieth century.