Book Review: Wisdom Man

November 6, 2014 Whitney Review 0 Comments

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Wisdom ManWisdom Man by Camilla Chance, Banjo Clarke
Published by e-penguin on January 1st 1970
Genres: Memoir
Source: Publisher

Banjo Clarke was an elder of the Kirrae Whurrong, a people of the Gunditjmara nation, and was a direct descendant of Queen Truganini. He was born in 1922 near Warrnambool, and by the time he passed away in March 2000 he was known and loved by thousands for his wisdom and compassion. Wisdom Man covers Banjo’s life from his childhood on a mission, through the grim years of the Depression, his solo travels in search of work, the birth of his eleven children, and his embrace of the Baha’i faith, which he found very close to Aboriginal spirituality. His story is one of remarkable forbearance during terrible encounters with racism, cruelty and the loss of loved ones, and is made all the more extraordinary by his lack of bitterness and anger. Wisdom Man also distils the essence of Aboriginal culture: Banjo constantly points to those aspects which he sees as relevant to all humanity, particularly in terms of our relationship with the land. Banjo Clarke embodied the spirit of reconciliation in its most generous and forgiving form, espousing and living it long before it was given a name, long before it became fashionable.

Fond of:

I get a little nervous when reviewing biographies/autobiographies as I feel like I am judging their life.  Although something about Banjo Clarke’s story struck me, and sounded like an interesting life was to be told. If I could describe Wisdom Man in one word it would be perseverance. He persevered through racism, death and the fight for his beloved bush.  I really enjoyed learning about the intricacies of Aboriginal culture, their life in the bush, morals and thoughts towards the Earth and Banjo Clarke’s story in general. While his time(s) in gaul and building roads for the army was interesting it was the little antidotes that brought the story to life, such as his son Ian catching the biggest fish Banjo had ever seen.  It was obvious that he lived a very full life.

Not Fond of:

The ending got a little Chicken Soup of the Soul.  An agreed with what Banjo Clarke said which was very Golden Rule but he got a little spiritual towards the end of the book or perhaps it was just reminiscence

Final Thoughts:

I would recommend Wisdom Man to anyone who is looking for a unique story and has an interest in cultural events.  In short something that has more substance than a Miley Cyrus biography.  Although Banjo is very moral oriented (not critiquing that) but if a book on “doing the right thing” isn’t your cup of tea than I would suggest a biography on Miley Cyrus.



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