Gordon Barton is one of the most extraordinary business people Australia has ever produced. This is the biography of this multi-faceted, enigmatic man.
A prominent and proactive commentator with an entirely new vision for Australia, he founded the political party that eventually became the Australian Democrats, owned two radical newspapers including Nation Review, and built a vast commercial empire with interests in transport mining, insurance, hotels, casinos, and book publishing and retailing.
Described as the Great Gatsby of his time, Barton's private life was colourful and spectacular. He captivated women and counted among his friends the mistress of the whip Madam Lash, lawyer Sir Laurence Street, legendary stand over man Tim Bristow and the controversial editor Francis James.
At the height of his business success, Barton refocused his energies in Europe. However in the heady environment of Thatcher's 1980s London, his financial security began to spiral out of control. By the 1990's, these losses had escalated. Deaf and broke, he went into voluntary exile and retreated to Italy's Lake Como where he lived out the rest of his days.
Gordon Barton occupied a unique place in Australia's social and political history. Sam Everingham has recorded the accounts of countless friends, read the intimate diaries of lovers and was given access to hundreds of personal letters that Barton had written and received. The results is an exceptional portrait of a man who dared to do things differently. Sam Everingham
is a Melbourne writer with a passion for Australia's hidden history. His first book, Wild Ride: The rise and fall of Cobb and Co was published in 2007. Sam has worked in social and market research consulting for seventeen years and currently runs his own consultancy.
Allen and Unwin
Author: Sam Everingham
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