Romulus Gaita fled his home in his native Yugoslavia at the age of thirteen, and came to Australia with his young wife Christina and their infant son Raimond soon after the end of World War II. Tragic events were to overtake the boy's life, but Raimond Gaita has an extraordinary story to tell about growing up with his father amid the stony paddocks and flowing grasses of country Australia.
Written simply and movingly, Romulus, My Father is about how a compassionate and honest man taught his son the meaning of living a decent life. It is about passion, betrayal and madness, about friendship and the joy and dignity of work, about character and fate, affliction and spirituality. No one will read this wonderful book without an enhanced sense of the possibilities of being alive.
'I know of no other book where the love between father and son has been more beautifully expressed.' Robert Manne
What does Gaita’s dog, Gypsy, think about while she sits on her mat gazing out to sea for hours on end? Why did the irascible cockatoo Jack greet Gaita’s father with kisses each morning but bite everyone else? How can we acknowledge that animals are sentient and yet deny that they have consciousness? Is it possible to love animals and still eat meat? In contemplating questions like these, Gaita weaves together personal stories–inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking accounts about the animals he and his family members have sheltered–with the reflections and analysis of a professional philosopher.
A graceful, engaging stylist, Gaita is perfectly lucid as he grapples with great thinkers through the ages–from Socrates to Wittgenstein, Descartes to Hannah Arendt. And yet, as important as formal philosophy has been to him, Gaita frankly acknowledges that he has learned much about the nature of life from Gypsy and Jack and his courageously arrogant cat Tosca. In the end, he argues that love should be the essence of our bond with animals, the critical factor that guides how we treat them and think about their place in our world.
In pondering the meaning and morality of his relationships with animals, and with the natural world more generally, Raimond Gaita has created a surprising masterpiece, a book of startling insights, spellbinding stories, meticulous observations, and wise reflection. At once engrossing and thought-provoking, The Philosopher’s Dog is a supremely enjoyable book.
From the Hardcover edition.
Hatred with forgiveness, evil with love, suffering with compassion, and the mundane with the precious. Gaita asserts that our conception of humanity cannot be based upon the empty language of individual rights when it is our shared feelings of grief, hope, love, guilt, shame and remorse that offer a more potent foundation for common understanding. Drawing on the work of Hannah Arendt, Simon Weil, Primo Levi, George Orwell, Iris Murdoch and Sigmund Freud, Gaita creates a beautifully written and provocative new picture of our common humanity.
The war in Iraq is over, so we are told, but huge questions remain unanswered. Why were we lied to about the existence of weapons of mass destruction? Why do we still not know how many Iraqis died in the invasion? Why was John Howard so eager to commit Australian troops? Was the invasion legal under international law? And how can we reconcile this critical questioning with the knowledge of how Iraqis suffered under Saddam Hussein?
In Why the War Was Wrong, leading Australian writers give their answers. Arguing from legal, political, historical, philosophical and humanitarian standpoints, they make a passionate case for the primacy of our responsibilities to our fellow human beings. This is an accessible and powerful book. It is a book you must read.
'Concise and convincing.' Australian Book Review
September 11 marked a change in Australian attitudes towards immigrants. The spotlight was now on Muslims. With contributions from Waleed Aly, Ghassan Hage, Graeme Davison, Shakira Hussein, Geoffrey Brahm Levey and Raimond Gaita, this collection looks at multiculturalism's successes and failures in providing a secure, well-integrated, free and fair Australia.
Essays on Muslims and Multiculturalism is essential reading for anyone wanting to make sense of an issue that draws such heated media debate.
'thought provoking...to take part in the discussion this is required reading.' Courier Mail
He writes about Hora, who was an inspiration to him throughout his life, about the making of the acclaimed film starring Eric Bana, about ideas of truth, the limits of character, and the conflict between love and morality. And, most movingly, about his mother Christine and his longing for her.
Raimond Gaita was born in Germany in 1946. He is Emeritus Professor of moral philosophy at Kings College London and a Professorial fellow at the Melbourne Law School and the faculty of Arts of the University of Melbourne. His books include: Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception; Romulus, My Father; A Common Humanity; The Philosopher’s Dog; Essays on Muslims and Multiculturalism (as editor and contributor); and After Romulus. A feature film of Romulus, My Father was released in 2007, and won the AFI award for Best Film, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Young Actor.
'Gaita is a brave, decent and emotionally intelligent man...we need more like him.' Stephen Romei, Australian
'Somehow, what was true of Romulus, of the light his goodness cast upon the world a light that made it possible for his son Raimond to survive childhood without bitterness, to love without shame or condescension his sick mother who had abandoned him this light binds together and gleams out of the book as well. There are moments you can find them, captured in passing, in After Romulus when the light settles for a second and you can see it at work.' Maria Tumarkin, Weekend Australian
'In After Romulus Raimond Gaita invites us into the far reaches of his considerable mind and the deep places of his soul. This will be felt as a privilege by most readers, as it should. And it is, as it turns out, not just a sequel, but an extension of all that was good in his initial story. It is a book to stretch the mind and enlarge the heart.' Canberra Times
'It is impossible not to be moved by this achingly raw remembrance and grateful for the stunning candour of its author.' Sunday Age
'This extraordinary book set me reflecting upon my own residency in the world - my own decency, condescension, loves and truths.' Weekend Herald (NZ)
'This is the kind of writing that is so brave it makes you flinch, so profound it makes you examine yourself, and so moving it makes you see life afresh. I was entranced as usual by Rai Gaita's limpid style, and his signature combination of philosophical intellect and warm heart.' Anna Funder
'[The essay] "An Unassuageable Longing" explains Christine and makes her real: she is finally chronicled with love and rigour, as was Romulus...In a book full of extraordinary revelations, this chapter will stay long in the reader's memory.' Age
'Raimond Gaita's After Romulus is an eloquent meditation on love, friendship, philosophy and loss. Gaita's tragic loss of his mother at an early age reminds us of Emily Dickinson's "The craving is upon the child like a claw it cannot remove". The reader is compelled to admiration by this brave book.' Alex Miller, Sydney Morning Herald's best books of 2011
'There are times when the reader is right there beside Gaita, delighting in the stinging descriptions of his childhood at Frogmore and sympathising with the heartache that confronted him so early in life.' Sun Herald
This revised edition of Good and Evil includes a substantial new preface and afterword by the author.