Australia's favorite bushranger, Ned Kelly, has been variously depicted as everything from a poor man's hero to a vicious murdering criminal. As always, reality is much more complicated than legend, and the truth behind the Ned Kelly legend is not easy to pin down.
In this book, Dr Doug Morrissey, brings a new light to Ned Kelly's story, and it is not a flattering one. Morrissey, who has studied aspects of the Kelly era over a period of years, found behind the Kelly mask a tough bushman, charismatic and a natural leader, "whose judgement was often impaired by impulsive and reckless behaviour."
Based on analysis of the Jerilderie Letter and other writings, Morrissey found a narcissistic egomaniac, "a wild man who would brook no opposition from friend or enemy ....subject to huge mood swings from sentimentality to towering rage that bordered on paranoia", and "with little regard for other people's feelings and a grandiose self-confidence in his own abilities."
"We should remember that along with the daring deeds and the suit of armour was an ugly history of professional crime and murder, a man who sought to bully and intimidate society while God gives me strength to pull a trigger.
Morrissey carefully examines the evidence of Kelly's life based on primary sources and analyses the various interpretations that have given rise to the popular Kelly myth. His work leaves little room for the Robin Hood myth of a rebel leader fighting against oppression and injustice.
Title: Ned Kelly: a lawless life
Author: Doug Morrissey
Publisher: Connor Court Publishing
Paperback, 256pp RRP: $32.95
PO BOX 7257
Redland Bay QLD 4165
The book is available at most book shops and through Amazon.