Trang by Peter Nolan [7/10]

Trang: The More You Give” is an unassuming biography of the sort that shouts “fascinating person I’ve known,” normally only of interest to those who actually are friends of the subject. And I do know Trang Thomas, the Vietnamese-born Australian covered in this book, though my acquaintanceship is recent and not especially deep. But appearances deceive, a cliché that applies equally to this bio and to Professor Trang Thomas herself, because this book is an engrossing tour through both a life and her times. Most unexpectedly, the gentle, intelligent academic I thought I knew was in fact a trailblazer through my era. A pioneering psychology academic, Trang was way ahead of the curve in Australia, tackling issues of aging and multiculturalism long before they became mainstream. She headed up government commissions, served on landmark boards, and was called to duty by a revolving roster of senior politicians. Consistently, she stood up unswervingly for the principles of multicultural richness and equality, as well as feminism, that are close to my heart. The number of times she was accorded a “first” (first woman, first Asian, etc., etc.) amazed me. Of course an interesting life often a boring book makes, but Peter Nolan, in his second book, is a smooth, logical writer with strong narrative control. In short, “Trang” is a superbly crafted biography that should be read by all Australians.

2 Replies to “Trang by Peter Nolan [7/10]”

  1. A powerful epistle about a woman I know, ( at least thought I knew) & with whom I have socialised.

    I didn’t realise what a ‘power house’ Trang was, forging the way in
    all fields in the review above.

    She is a shy, modest lady who rarely lets on about her past, professional life.

    I’ve loved reading Peter Nolan’s account; he has researched extensively, he has educated me about the times & history in Vietnam & Australia, all the time telling meTrang’s story.

    I also knew Trang’s husband David. What a formidable family!

    I will ensure that friends & family have access to Peter Nolan’s
    book, Trang’s story “ The More You Give”.

    Thank you Peter. Thank you Trang.

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