- Steve Brook
Steve Brook (1934-), born in
London, Englandand trained as a compositorin Sydney, Australia, is a Melbournebased satirical writer with a history of involvement in progressive causes, following a period as a journalist with Polish Radio in Warsaw. Owing to his literary and historical talents, his writing, journalism, and biographical reflection is a significant source of documentation of the Jewish leftin Australia and its international connections from outside academiaand from the point of view of a non-ideological, humanistinsider.
He has an MA from
Monash Universityin Melbourne.
His account of time spent with the English language service of [http://www.radio.com.pl/ Polish Radio] (1966-1974) is a sympathetic, but not uncritical look at Poland under
Soviethegemony where there were attempts to have 'socialism with a human face', as well as the Polish cultural scene in the 1960s and 1970s and the political use of anti-Semitismin Poland. Additionally, he was a journalist at 3CR radio in Melbourne in the 1970s when there were strong political differences between left factions, including the influence of local Maoists.
He has also been a key member of the [http://www.ajds.org.au/ Australian Jewish Democratic Society] (AJDS), a progressive Australian organisation with roots going back to the pre-World War 2 left. His published writing, journalism, and frequent letters to the editor are an important source of otherwise undocumented political and social history of the Melbourne Left. In addition, his frequent letters to the editor to the Australian Jewish News and the Newsletter of AJDS on Israel/Palestine issues are a rebuttal to the reactive
Zionismof many in the Australian Jewish community to criticisms of current Israeli policies.
In all his work he has expressed a deep mistrust of official propaganda whether from the Left or the Right.
In "Strawberries with Everything" he says that this was why he went to live in Warsaw, "behind the Iron Curtain", to discover for himself the degree of truth in
anticommunismand its accompanyingpropaganda, which painted life in those parts as a kind of hell on earth.
Communist propaganda was, of course, a mirror image of this. He says the reality was a bit of both--neither devils nor angels, but real people scarred and traumatised by the most horrific war in modern history which led to their political choices in the face of crisis, including communism in preference to the perception of continuing
Fascismand Nazismduring the Cold War. This factor, says Brook, is almost deliberately ignored in studies of the Soviet bloc.
*Brook, S. (2005). Strawberries with everything : A Polish odyssey 1966-1974. St. Kilda, Vic., Rawprawn Publishing; Bali Sugar: A Tale of Tropical Love, God and Politicking (2004); McQuail: A Likely Story (2003)
*Mendes, P. (1993). The new left, the Jews and the Vietnam war, 1965-1972. North Caulfield, Vic., Lazare.
*Mendes, P. and G. B. Levey (2004). Jews and Australian politics. Brighton ; Portland, OR, Sussex Academic Press.
*Sparrow, J. and J. Sparrow (2001). Radical melbourne. Carlton North, Vic., Vulgar Press.
*Taft, B. (1994). Crossing the party line : Memoirs of Bernie Taft. Newham, Vic., Scribe.
* [http://brooksbooks.blogspot.com/ Blog]
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