Almanac Book Review: All This In 60 Minutes – Nick Lee (Allen & Unwin – $32.99)

All This In 60 Seconds

Nicholas Lee

Allen & Unwin



It was with such high hopes that I started Nick Lee’s All This In 60 Seconds, but in the end it left me unfulfilled. Yes there are moments of humour, and all the interesting characters are incorporated as you would expect; exotic locations, truculent world leaders and dodgy airplanes. But somehow Lee has managed to gloss over these mere trivial things to tell us all about a great meal he had in Beirut, or when he and the 60 Minutes crew got smashed together in Ireland. Um, who cares? I’m not sure why Lee thought anyone would.


60 Minutes has been running weekly on Australian television since 1979, and the show and the high-profile reporters like Jana Wendt and Ray Martin have created some unmissable moments at home and abroad. Watching Margaret Thatcher and George Negus go head to head in 1981 is as watchable now as it was then. Wendt grilling Colonel Muammar Gaddafi about being the ‘Mad Dog’ of the Arab world was brave, and Mike Munro going underground with the IRA in the late 1980s was as dangerous assignment as anyone ever had at 60 Minutes; if he’d been caught with anyone from the IRA it was jail and little change out of 20 years.


Lee was cameraman throughout those tumultuous times, yet very little of the gravity of those and many other stories comes across in the book. I wanted to hear more about Idi Amin, Anwar Sadat and the killing fields of Cambodia. Nope. Generally, it was how bad was that flight, how good was that meal and who is getting drunk with me tonight. What an opportunity Lee had here, and boy how he has wasted that opportunity.


As mentioned earlier, there are lighter moments where humour and a touch of the absurd is needed, but not 387 pages worth.





  1. I’m 54 and have so far managed to never watch 60 Minutes. Not once. I don’t think it has ever occurred to me to turn it on. I ignore it in the guides like I would Neighbours, ACA or Housewives of Shitsville.

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