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Beaten by a Blow

By Dennis McIntosh

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Format: Paperback, 288 pages
Published In: Australia, 29 June 2009
Growing up, Dennis McIntosh was determined not to get stuck in a factory like his father. And when he takes a job as a roustabout he discovers what he really wants to be: a shearer, the king of the sheds. But it soon turns out this legendary occupation isn't everything it seems. Dennis discovers what it feels like when your eyelids are the only bit of you that doesn't hurt. When the heat in the sheds kills the sheep before you're done shearing them. When the road isn't taking you towards adventure, it's taking you away from your family, and you drink to forget. Beaten by a Blow tells the story of a boy full of hope crashing headlong into life - into work, into drink, into responsibilities he isn't ready for, which come closer to breaking his back than shearing ever did.

About the Author

Dennis McIntosh was born in Townsville in 1958 and grew up in Newcastle and Melbourne's outer west. After leaving school, Dennis worked as an itinerant shearer until the Wide Comb Dispute in 1984. In 1985 he started working as a tunneller on the Western Trunk Sewer project. He calls it his Jungian tunnel because he went into the tunnel as a shearer and emerged seven year later as a swimming coach. He started out coaching by taking his daughter to the pool as part of her therapy for a brain injury. Dennis taught swimming professionally from 1992 to 2006. In 1999 Dennis went to university to see if he could learn to write- he wanted to pen his daughter's life story and give it to her on her twenty-first birthday. His studies fit nicely with the philosophy, If you can't do it, do it. If you don't think you fit in, you're in the right place. If you don't think you belong, you're home. If you have an empty page in front of you, and you don't know what comes next, you're in the starter's hands. Dennis says these feelings and experiences are necessary for transformative learning to occur. If you know where you are going, you're going nowhere. In December 2013 Dennis was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy. He is currently working in a remote bush school trying to implement his physical approach to learning, but no one is listening. His first book, Beaten by a Blow, was

Reviews

Anyone familiar with the song 'Click go the Shears' will be aware of the role of shearers as a significant part of our national identity. Beaten By a Blow provides an insight into Dennis McIntosh's career progression as a shearer. From his lowly start as a roustabout; cleaning the woolsheds and removing the shorn fleeces; through to a qualified shearer, sought after to be part of the shearing team. This memoir covers a wide range of topics, including documentation of the union struggle against the Fraser government and New Zealand import shearers in the late 70s and early 80s. It also covers Mcintosh's young family and his constant struggle to make ends meet. The book is very engaging to begin, but the later chapters feel rushed and the ending is quite abrupt. There is a lot of attention paid at every point to the number of sheep every character has shorn. This is overdone and distracts from the story at times. Certainly not a happy read, this is a true 'Aussie battler' story. Written for a male audience, this larrikin memoir tells a tale of loyalty and mateship, but ever present is the underlying struggle to get by. Tristan Blattman is special sales manager for UNSW Bookshop

EAN: 9780143010685
ISBN: 0143010689
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.1 x 2.2 centimetres (0.22 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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