The bidding war for Chris Masters’s biography of Alan Jones is over with
Australian publishing house Allen & Unwin emerging with the rights
to publish what will now surely become one of the hottest titles
of the year.

Trade Publishing Director of Allen & Unwin, Sue Hines, told Crikey
was delighted to have the book and “we feel sure we are the right
home.” She said the book would be published “as soon as we can get our
together” and certainly before the end of the year. She refused to
comment on whether she was afraid of Jones.

In a statement appearing on The Age website Masters says: “I am pleased to be able to work
with a publisher of the courage, character and calibre of Allen
& Unwin. I am also appreciative of magnificent support during the past
four years from ABC Books Manager, Stuart Neal.”

Bridget Griffen-Foley, Kerry Packer’s biographer, said “Jonestown promises to be
an important and rare book”. She writes:

Although talkback radio is one of Australia’s
most popular, and popularly derided, media forms, it has attracted remarkably
few books. There are only two biographies of John Laws, and still none of Jones. Compare this with the United
States, where at least 11 books have been
written about Rush Limbaugh. More liberal defamation laws in the United States
have undoubtedly helped to foster the publication of critical biographies of
major media and political identities.

All the speculation
in recent days about Jonestown‘s
contents, and the insistent use of the badge “unauthorised”, have somewhat
overlooked the author’s intentions. Masters has previously stated that he set
out to write “an examination of Jones’s power” instead of doing “a Jones on

“It’s not the way I work,” he said. “People who hate him blindly are as
uninteresting as people who love him blindly”.

Peter Fray

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Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey