Martin Bryant: the Making of a Mass Murderer
Robert Wainwright & Paola Totaro
Fairfax Books NZ$37.99
By guest reviewer Annie Boyd.
Bryant’s horrifying act in shooting dead 35 innocents remains the world’s worst killing spree by a lone gunman. It also remains one, which for me anyway, had been almost forgotten.
Martin Bryant was persuaded to plead guilty and the Tasmanian government has since been instrumental in keeping him remarkably out of the public arena by passing legislation exclusive to Bryant. This has effectively blocked the dissemination of any information about the man himself.
“Born or Bred ? " Martin Bryant: the making of a mass murderer” addresses and revisits the massacre but to its credit does not simply recount events. In fact the details of the massacre are not revealed at all until the very last chapter where they are separated. To quote the authors speaking about the last chapter “This account has been quarantined for those readers who may find it too harrowing.”
Instead we have a very detailed and thorough account and uncovering of Bryant’s life, his background, his parents inadequacies and despair over their anti social son, the family history (convicts abound) over 5 generations, mental instability in adolescents and a careful and compelling examination of nature versus nurture.
Of course the subject matter is horrific and so ghastly you almost hold your breath while reading the book but it is also completely compelling. I found it a totally riveting and unforgettable read. It includes transcripts of rare live interviews with Bryant and attempts t reveal why he committed this horrific crime. The book is exceptionally well written by the two greatly experienced journalist authors.
Warning: sleepless nights may follow the reading of this book. .