Trained as a doctor, George Ernest Morrison, better known as ‘Morrison of Peking’ was much more than a medico. As doctor, explorer, political advisor and – most famously – journalist, Morrison made his name in the world of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.
Raised in Australia, Morison always hoped to do something great. At just 20 he walked alone and unaided from the Gulf of Carpenteria to Melbourne, retracing the steps of the less successful Burke and Wills only 21 years prior.
Having exposed the Australian Kanak slave trade through the Melbourne Age, after gainining employment on a slave ship, and subsequently attempting the first crossing of New Guinea, Morrison travelled to England where he first became a doctor and, later, a journalist.
Morrison’s greatest fame came from his time in Peking, as correspondent to London’s Times newspaper. His reports did more than just record the downfall of the Chinese dynasty – they actually shaped the course of events both in the Boxer rebellion and the subsequent birth of the Chinese Republic.
The Man Who Died Twice provides a detailed account of the travels, adventures and working life of this extraordinary Australian. Authors Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin have used Morrison’s diaries, correspondence and newspaper stories to piece together a detailed account of his life from his chidlhood through to his death at the age of 58.
This is a gripping read for fans of biography and students of history. Even fans of fiction will be intrigued by the experiences this one man managed to fit into his lifetime.
The Man Who Died Twice, by Peter Thompson and Robert Macklin
Allen & Unwin, 2004