Comrade Ambassador: Whitlam’s Beijing Envoy
By Stephen FitzGerald
MUP, 272pp, $34.99
When Gough Whitlam appointed Stephen FitzGerald as Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, he did so with typical ironic humour: “I shall now call you Comrade Ambassador. ” Hence the title of this engaging memoir.
Schooled in Hobart, FitzGerald, the youngest of five children, did not know a single Asian person until he went to the University of Tasmania in 1957. Even there, few students regarded ‘‘the discovery of Asia’’ as a burning issue.
But, as FitzGerald puts it, “the deeply …