Come the Revolution, a Memoir
New South Press, 2011
Reviewed by Ed Lewis
Alex Mitchell’s memoir covers a big chunk of history, from the late 1950s up to a few months ago. Mitchell is a skilled and entertaining writer and the book is worthwhile alone for its vignettes of the 1961 Mount Isa strike, the early stages of the Vietnam antiwar movement in Australia and London, the Canberra press gallery, Rupert Murdoch as a rising young mogul challenging entrenched media interests in Australia, Mitchell’s training in tabloid journalism on Murdoch’s afternoon Sydney daily, The Mirror, his later experience in investigative reporting with the Insight team on London’s Sunday Times, his traumatic few days as a reporter in Biafra, his reporting from Idi Amin’s Uganda, in Ireland during “the troubles” and much more.
But Mitchell makes it clear the passion of his life was left politics, and the high point of his involvement in the left was his time in Gerry Healy’s Workers Revolutionary Party, for a few years probably the most successful Trotskyist organisation in Britain, with a daily newspaper, an extensive publishing program, numerous real estate assets, an active membership of probably several hundred and a constellation of celebrities surrounding it, including Vanessa and Corin Redgrave.