'"I was born in a house of books."
'So begins this long-awaited autobiography, in which Geoffrey Dutton embarks on an honest, controversial and brilliantly entertaining journey through seventy crowded years.
'His unusual childhood was dominated by the lavish lives of his wealthy parents who collected houses as well as books, although young Geoffrey was despatched to boarding school at a young age while his mother traveled abroad to enjoy a flirtation with the European aristocracy.
'His real education came later, in wartime. I've joined the air force, and as well as embarking on various amorous adventures, his risky low flying antics had him promptly locked up in the "boob".
'During the war he also began publishing poetry and was closely associated with the modernist movement in art and literature. Later I studied at Magdalen College, Oxford, where CS Lewis was one of his tutors.
'Since then Geoffrey Dutton has become renowned as a poet, critic, biographer, publisher and editor. In this masterpiece of literary autobiography he traces many journeys, from his sojourn in Cold War crazy Kansas to a wild and wonderful visit to Russia as a hapless victim of Intourist. Other travels take him through the Pacific, Africa, Europe and the Mediterranean.
'There are many intimate portraits of his sometimes volatile friends, among them the feisty Zhenya Yevtushenko, fellow flier David Campbell, Russell Drysdale, Arthur Boyd, Sidney Nolan, the precocious Robert Hughes, Ken Slessor, and Max Harris, eccentric survivor of "Ern Malley " Here too is the full story of the celebrated, quarter-century friendship with Patrick White which ended so bitterly.' (Publication summary)