About the book

A world-famous Australian writer, an inspiration to Robert Hughes and Clive James, a legendary war correspondent who also wrote bestselling histories of exploration and conservation . . . and yet forgotten? In this dazzling book, Thornton McCamish delves into the past to reclaim a remarkable figure, Alan Moorehead.

As a reporter, Moorehead witnessed many of the great historical events of the mid-20th century: the Spanish Civil War and both world wars, Cold War espionage, and decolonisation in Africa. He debated strategy with Churchill and Gandhi, fished with Hemingway, and drank with Graham Greene, Ava Gardner and Truman Capote.

Book cover of Our Man Elsewhere: In Search of Alan Moorehead by Thornton McCamish
Published by: 
Black Inc

About the author


Thornton McCamish is a freelance journalist and writer. He was editor of the Big Issue (Australia) magazine from 1996 to 1999. His book Supercargo: A Journey Among Ports (2002) was published by Lonely Planet. Thornton received a 2013 Merlyn Myer Biography stipend to write Our Man Elsewhere - awarded on the strength of his outstanding proposal.

Portrait - Thornton McCamish, author.

Judges’ comments

This is a highly readable biography of a significant Australian writer whose work was widely read in the 1950s and 1960s but who today is less well known in his home country.

Thornton McCamish gives us a generous, but not uncritical, portrait of Alan Moorehead – one of our earliest 20th century expats- and brings his journalism and non-fiction books back into the frame for a new generation of readers. But McCamish does much more: this is a book about the biographer’s journey of discovery of his subject. In the process, McCamish gives us a clever and well-observed picture of a mid-20th century world in which the push and pull between Australia and Europe defined our culture. Moorehead was essentially a “middlebrow” writer and McCamish has done a brilliant job of placing his work in the wider context of Australian history.

This is a book about a passion for writing, but it is also about culture, class and the challenges of the biographer.