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y Ned Kelly : A Lawless Life single work   biography  
Issue Details: First known date: 2015... 2015 Ned Kelly : A Lawless Life
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'The books on Kelly multiply without adding to our understanding. Instead the mythologising becomes more intense and uncritical. Doug Morrissey has something new to say on Kelly and his world. Ned Kelly was very ready with excuses and justifications for his actions. His admiring biographers endorse them. In this book Doug subjects them to close scrutiny. They all fall over and a different Ned emerges – a man who had embraced a lawless life. Doug Morrissey is an expert on life in Kelly country. His previous writings have annoyed the admirers of Australia’s most famous bushranger. This book will cause heated debate. It includes a criticism of the best known Kelly books and a line by line annotation of the errors and misrepresentations in Ned’s own Jerilderie Letter.'

Source: From the introduction.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Bacchus Marsh, Bacchus Marsh - Ballan area, Melbourne - Outer West / North West, Melbourne, Victoria,: Connor Court Publishing , 2015 .
      8031250372520345092.jpg
      Image courtesy of publisher's website.
      Extent: 280p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 15 February 2015.
      ISBN: 9781925138481

Works about this Work

[Review Essay] Ned Kelly : A Lawless Life David A. Kent , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Colonial History , no. 18 2016; (p. 199-200)

''Mad, bad and dangerous to know' was Lady Caroline Lamb's pithy description of Lord Byron but, as Doug Morrissey shows, the words might be even more appropriately applied to Ned Kelly. With irrational delusions that merged into paranoia Kelly was a career criminal, in an organised network of criminals, for whom extreme violence was simply part of his stock in trade. He lived A Lawless Life — as the subtitle indicates — but the scale and nature of his violent criminality is all too often either ignored or excused by his biographers. Ned's modern equivalent in organised crime might be the leader of an outlaw motor-cycle gang, with fingers in many criminal pies (but especially in the re-birthing of stolen cars), ready to use extreme violence including murder to advance his plans or evade arrest, and generally indifferent to the mores of society at large. It is hard to imagine that such a figure, whose behaviour would be condemned by all except his fellow gang-members and, perhaps, their families, could ever have a sympathetic and romantic mythology develop around his activities. But Ned Kelly, with his bloodthirsty gang whose behaviour outraged the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries, has generated a literature and framed a popular perception that, most often, places him somewhere on the martyrdom spectrum. This sentiment is at the heart of Peter FitzSimons' Ned Kelly: The Story of Australia's Most Notorious Legend (2013) and is merely the latest reworking of the popular myths. Morrissey's book is more than a simple account of A Lawless Life. It is an important revisionary attack on the dominant historiography with its 'old cliches and metaphors' and he highlights the limited research and repetition of multiple errors that are characteristic of most Kelly biographies.' (Introduction)

[Review Essay] Ned Kelly : A Lawless Life David A. Kent , 2016 single work essay
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Colonial History , no. 18 2016; (p. 199-200)

''Mad, bad and dangerous to know' was Lady Caroline Lamb's pithy description of Lord Byron but, as Doug Morrissey shows, the words might be even more appropriately applied to Ned Kelly. With irrational delusions that merged into paranoia Kelly was a career criminal, in an organised network of criminals, for whom extreme violence was simply part of his stock in trade. He lived A Lawless Life — as the subtitle indicates — but the scale and nature of his violent criminality is all too often either ignored or excused by his biographers. Ned's modern equivalent in organised crime might be the leader of an outlaw motor-cycle gang, with fingers in many criminal pies (but especially in the re-birthing of stolen cars), ready to use extreme violence including murder to advance his plans or evade arrest, and generally indifferent to the mores of society at large. It is hard to imagine that such a figure, whose behaviour would be condemned by all except his fellow gang-members and, perhaps, their families, could ever have a sympathetic and romantic mythology develop around his activities. But Ned Kelly, with his bloodthirsty gang whose behaviour outraged the overwhelming majority of his contemporaries, has generated a literature and framed a popular perception that, most often, places him somewhere on the martyrdom spectrum. This sentiment is at the heart of Peter FitzSimons' Ned Kelly: The Story of Australia's Most Notorious Legend (2013) and is merely the latest reworking of the popular myths. Morrissey's book is more than a simple account of A Lawless Life. It is an important revisionary attack on the dominant historiography with its 'old cliches and metaphors' and he highlights the limited research and repetition of multiple errors that are characteristic of most Kelly biographies.' (Introduction)

Last amended 17 Oct 2016 13:17:46
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