World War Noir

Sydney's unpatriotic war


Michael Duffy, Nick Hordern

NewSouth Publishing   2019

Paperback   336pp   RRP $34.99


Reviewer: Mike O’Brien, January 2020


Truth newspaper was a sensationalist tabloid published in Sydney until its replacement by the Mirror in 1958. Like its Melbourne similarly named offshoot it specialised in crime, sex and horror. Its editorial and reporting style matched its subjects. The newspaper has been digitised and its contents can now be searched online at the National Library of Australia’s Trove website.

This book follows the Truth’s style guide if there ever had been one. It consists of chronological episodes in the wartime life of Sydney, just as they may have been presented in the tabloid. They are unreferenced and racy. It might be fair to assign most of them to articles in Truth and to the book Caddie: a Sydney Barmaid.

It is not surprising that the patriotism that was generated Second World War did not prevent crime in Sydney. This book will give you its flavour, but you will find the task of looking for verifiable facts in it very difficult indeed.




The RUSI – Vic Library thanks the publisher for making this work available for review.

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