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Good Reads Review: Truth Is Trouble

** spoiler alert **

Malcolm Knox is a very accomplished journalist and writer, but even despite that I went into this book with considerable unease. Working in the sports journalism space myself, (especially the rugby space), I had some experience on the damage the Israel Folau saga had caused to Australian rugby, no matter what your perspectives on this situation were. Upon finishing it, what was most impressive about this short but informative book is the neutrality Knox brings; while he may have many personal bones to pick in this book, he is a journalist first and does a good job of examining both sides of this argument. Additionally, he also highlights the danger associated with picking sides in the first place and how, outside of it's context, how such discourse is now becoming increasingly common. What is most telling though is that despite it being over 250 pages longer, it still feels like Knox has only scratched the surface of the complexity of the debate. In this instance it's probably for the best, as to try and analyse every nook and cranny of the debate might turn into a futile exercise in itself. Knox keeps the debate informative, but also not too intense that casual readers might get lost in the moral complexity. This more relaxed style can knee-cap the book on several occasions however, as Knox does expand the topic outside of the Folau-Rugby Australia debate in the second half of the book to a broader discussion around free speech, especially in the context of religion. Tackling such a difficult topic like this is natural though given it's complexity, and Knox framing his own experiences and run-ins around the free speech debate also is an interesting part of the book, even if it can feel occasionally like it is drifting away from the titular event that set this discourse off. This was a brave and challenging topic to take on, and despite the small complaints, Knox has done a great job walking the tight rope on a very controversial and dicey topic. Even if you aren't familiar with the Israel Folau story, (or more so, if you are and have strictly taken a particular side), I encourage you to read this book. While it may not make you change your mind on some subjects, in truth that's really not the point. What it excels at is making you understand the actions of all involved, and understanding is something that definitely needs to be highlighted in the age of free speech becoming so complicated.


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