Looking back on a long and active life, Anne Deveson draws on a rich vein of public and private experiences to reflect on what made her the bold social commentator she became. Central among her lifelong preoccupations have been the questioning of war, and the promotion of peace. Deveson describes her childhood during the Second World War in Britain, which prompted her family's evacuation to Malaya just before invasion by the Japanese, and futher evacuation to Australia as refugees in 1942. At the end of the war, they returned to a devastated London to find people lining the pavements begging for food and, during the coldest winter on record, sleeping in the streets. Returning to Australia in 1956, Deveson built a career (unusual in the 1960s for a young mother) as a provocative commentator on issues of social justice and equality, and, as a member of the groundbreaking and controversial Commission into Human Rights, she argued passionately for the disadvantaged. We share with her, through dramatic filming experiences in Africa, horror at the traumas of conflict and the need to understand its resolution.
Deveson reflects on human yearning for a peaceful space in which ordinary family life may be lived - often taken for granted, too often lost. Deveson's unique voice, her humour and humility shine through this memoir of experiences and ideas. She argues persuasively that, were we to wage peace with all the resources and passion that we wage war, differences could be resolved, and peace restored.