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The Education of Young Donald Trilogy

Including Confessions of a New Boy and Portrait of an Optimist

Donald Horne, introduction by Julia Horne, Nick Horne, foreword by Tracy Sorensen

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A compelling insight into the making of one of Australia’s foremost public intellectuals.

A classic of Australian literature, The Education of Young Donald Trilogy combines Donald Horne’s three autobiographies – The Education of Young Donald (1967), Confessions of a New Boy (1985) and Portrait of an Optimist (1988) – in one volume. With a keen intellect, sharp wit and dry humour, Horne vividly describes his formative years as he moves between different millieux, from an idyllic rural childhood to the excitement of university, experience as a Second World War serviceman, life in post-war England and the rough and tumble world of old-school journalism.

With a foreword by novelist Tracy Sorensen and a new introduction by Julia Horne and Nick Horne, The Education of Young Donald Trilogy is a revealing and instructive tale from the author of The Lucky Country and an absorbing account of Australian social and intellectual life from the 1920s to the 1950s.

‘Donald Horne looks down on Australia from the loftiest heights in the pantheon. He’s up there with Patrick White as our most savage literary lion. The Education of Young Donald Trilogy is a masterpiece and should replace the Gideon Bible in motel drawers.’ — Phillip Adams

‘Donald Horne was an eager participant in twentieth century public conversations that made Australia what it is today. His searching autobiographical trilogy introduces him to a new generation of readers.’ — Edmund Campion

‘Horne’s trilogy of autobiography is his most substantial legacy, for its clarity of observation on the formation of Australia and on the strands of the Australian personality.’ — Frank Moorhouse

‘Horne … makes complex ideas and feelings, particularly about Australian life, accessible in chiselled, wry prose that remains fresh and deeply Australian.’ — Fiona Capp

‘… a superb book.’ Peter Coleman, — The Australian

‘I commend it to you quite fiercely.’ — Max Harris, The Australian

‘… an exhilarating inquiry into the sources and quality of the facts and ideas that made him …’ — H.G. Kippax, Sydney Morning Herald

‘… a master of the autobiography-as-an-art form’ — Denis O’Brien, The Australian

‘In some ways, his personality embodied the Australia into which he was born in 1921: hard edged, wry-humoured, industrious and pragmatic. In a country with a deeply ingrained anti-intellectual tradition … Horne was a feisty advocate for the virtues of intellectual life.’ — Mark McKenna, The Australian

‘Australia had made him and he was concerned to remake Australia … it was his country and as such it had no right to be boring or provincial or mediocre.’ — Owen Harries, Speech at Horne Memorial

‘Like Henry Lawson and Patrick White, his work will live on as a faithful record of our time.’ — Manning Clark

‘Donald Horne is Australia’s special gift to the world …’ — Kenneth Hudson, Art Monthly

‘His three-volume autobiography is one of the major literary achievements of twentieth century Australia …’ — Meaghan Morris, Gleebooks Gleaner