Maintaining the ""Australian Dictionary of Biography""'s tradition of scholarship, volume 15 reflects what changed and what remained constant in Australian society during the years of World War II and its aftermath. Like the pieces of a mosaic, a host of lives gives a picture of our society and provides insights into the experiences of our people. While biography necessarily focuses on the individual, a range of biographies illuminates large themes in Australia's recent history, themes such as immigration, accelerating industrialism, urbanization and suburbanization, war (World War II, Korea, Malaya and Vietnam), material progress, increasing cultural maturity, conservative and radical politics, conflict and harmony, and the loss of isolation and innocence. It also reveals something of the greatness and the littleness of which human beings are capable.
Professor John Ritchie is general editor (since 1988) of the Australian Dictionary of Biography at the Research School of Social Sciences, Australian National University. He taught Australian History at Monash University in 1964-65, and British and Australian History at the Faculty of Arts, ANU, from 1969 to 1987. He has published widely.