In November 1934 Egon Erwin Kisch, a famous Czech writer, journalist, and political activist sailed into Melbourne. He had been invited as a guest speaker by the Movement Against War and Fascism, but was prevented from landing by the federal government and effectively held prisoner onboard ship on the grounds that he was a dangerous communist'. However he escaped and jumped from the deck of the Strathaird and into Australian history. Kisch's dramatic leap would have been forgotten if he had not successfully challenged the legality of the government s attempt to prevent him entering the country. This important new book assesses, for the first time, the international significance of Kisch and places him, and his Australian experience in the broader context of the rise of fascism in Europe and the ideological struggles of the 1930s.
Heidi Zogbaum is a research fellow at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Australia.