Davie, Michael 1924-
DAVIE, Michael 1924-
PERSONAL: Born January 15, 1924, in Cranleigh, Surrey, England; son of Russell (a stock broker) and Harriet (Browne) Davie; married Mollie Robin Atherton, November 8, 1954 (divorced, 1975); married Anne Chisholm (a writer); children: (first marriage) Annabel, Simon, Emma. Education: Merton College, Oxford, B.A., 1949.
ADDRESSES: Home—136 Fellows Rd., London NW3, England. Office—Observer, 160 Queen Victoria St., London EC4, England.
CAREER: Journalist and writer. Observer, London, England, associate editor, beginning 1969; The Age, Melbourne, Australia, editor, 1979-81; The Times of Papua New Guinea, Papua, founder, 1980; Military service: Royal Navy, 1942-46.
AWARDS, HONORS: Yorkshire Post literary award, 1973; nominated for James Tait Black Prize, 1993, for Lord Beaverbrook: A Life.
LBJ: A Foreign Observer's Viewpoint, Duell, Sloan & Pearce (New York, NY), 1966.
California: The Vanishing Dream, Dodd (New York, NY), 1972.
(Editor) The Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Weidenfeld & Nicolson (London, England), 1976.
The Titanic: The Full Story of a Tragedy, Bodley Head (London, England), 1986, published as Titanic: The Death and Life of a Legend, Knopf (New York, NY), 1987.
(Editor, with Simon Davie) The Faber Book of Cricket, Faber & Faber (Boston, MA), 1987.
(With wife, Anne Chisholm) Lord Beaverbrook: A Life, Knopf (New York, NY), 1993.
Anglo-Australian Attitudes, Secker & Warburg (London, England), 2000.
SIDELIGHTS: Michael Davie has been writing for most of his professional life. He has worked on newspapers in both England and Australia, becoming editor of The Age in Melbourne, Australia, and founder of the weekly investigative newspaper The Times of Papua New Guinea. Davie has also authored nonfiction books on a variety of subjects, ranging from Lyndon B. Johnson to the Titanic to cricket.
Davie's best-known book may be Lord Beaverbrook: A Life, which he coauthored with his wife, Anne Chisholm. Although they were not the first biographers of Lord Beaverbrook, political insider and early media mogul, critics generally agreed that theirs was the most complete and objective study of the man to date. Beaverbrook went from humble beginnings in maritime Canada to being a millionaire who by the 1950s controlled newspapers with a circulation of five million. Along the way, he acquired a multitude of friends and as many, if not more, enemies. His politics, which were freely expressed in his newspapers, were pro-Empire, pro-appeasement where Hitler was concerned, and pro-Soviet Union, yet serious journalists flocked to his papers, ignoring his politics for the chance to work for someone willing to spend a great deal of money to make the best paper he could.
Critical response to Lord Beaverbrook was overwhelmingly positive. A Publishers Weekly reviewer termed it an "exhaustively researched" book which "candidly describes Beaverbrook's dark side." "A rich, fair, and comprehensive inquiry," declared James D. Startt in The Historian. American Spectator contributor Richard Lamb wrote, "Full of . . . intimate anecdotes, this is a wonderful biography. It is detailed, informed, and vivid."
A native Englishman who spent much of his life working in the Australian newspaper industry, Davie has observed firsthand Australians' love-hate relationship with their former parent country. In Anglo-Australian Attitudes, he raises questions about the nature of the relationship between the two countries and takes on some Australians' more persistent myths about Great Britain, including the beliefs that British officers sent Australian soldiers to die needlessly at the battle of Gallipoli during the First World War and that the British abandoned Singapore, and thereby Australia, during the Second. He also addresses more benign spats like "Bodyline," a famous cricket match in the 1930s. Though perplexed that an Englishman can spend so many years in Australia and "still be surprised by how Australians feel about the United Kingdom," Times Literary Supplement reviewer Ben Ball called the book "insightful and entertaining."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
American Spectator, December, 1987, review of Titanic: The Death and Life of a Legend, p. 45; May, 1993, Richard Lamb, review of Lord Beaverbrook: A Life, pp. 68-70.
Atlantic, September, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 102.
Booklist, June 1, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 1478; February 1, 1993, Margaret Flanagan, review of Lord Beaverbrook, p. 967.
British Book News, August, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 514.
Bulletin with Newsweek, July 18, 2000, Peter Pierce, review of Anglo-Australian Attitudes, p. 102.
Business History, April, 1994, Gregory P. Marchildon, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 99-100.
Contemporary Review, February, 1993, A. L. Rowse, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 106-108.
Europe, September, 1993, Peter Doyle, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 44-46.
Guardian Weekly, October 5, 1986, review of Titanic, p. 21.
Historian, summer, 1995, James D. Startt, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 581-582.
Kirkus Reviews, April 15, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 611.
Kliatt Young Adult Paperback Book Guide, April, 1989, review of Titanic, p. 59.
Library Journal, July, 1987, John Kenny, review of Titanic, p. 75; February 15, 1993, Mary Hemmings, review of Lord Beaverbrook, p. 172.
London Review of Books, December 4, 1986, review of Titanic, p. 16.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, June 28, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 8.
Maclean's, April 5, 1993, Anthony Wilson-Smith, review of Lord Beaverbrook, p. 58.
Neiman Reports, spring, 1993, Joe Hall, review of Lord Beaverbrook, p. 72.
New Republic, May 10, 1993, David Canadine, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 46-49.
New Statesman & Society, Peter Clarke, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 42-43.
Newsweek, January 18, 1993, David Gates, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 56-57.
New Yorker, August 10, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 80; March 1, 1993, Naomi Bliven, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 109-114.
Publishers Weekly, May 8, 1987, Genevieve Stuttaford, review of Titanic, p. 56; November 30, 1992, review of Lord Beaverbrook, p. 44.
Reference and Research Books News, fall, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 11.
Saturday Night, December, 1992, Conrad Black, review of Lord Beaverbrook, pp. 46-49.
SciTech Book News, September, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 2.
Spectator, July 1, 2000, Peter Porter, review of Anglo-Australian Attitudes, pp. 28-29.
Times Higher Education Supplement, September 14, 2001, Andrew Mueller, review of Anglo-Australian Attitudes, p. 26.
Times Literary Supplement, October 10, 1986, review of Titanic, p. 1129; January 5, 2001, Ben Ball, review of Anglo-Australian Attitudes, p. 11.
Washington Post Book World, July 19, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 5.
West Coast Review of Books, Volume 13, issue 2, 1987, review of Titanic, p. 37.
Foreign Correspondent Web site,http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/ (April 25, 2000), Jennifer Byrne, "Interview with Michael Davie."
Guardian Unlimited Books,http://books.guardian.co.uk/travel/ (July 2, 2000), Charles Saumarez Smith, "Upside-down View of Down Under," review of Anglo-Australian Attitudes.*