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Turning Point

             Turning Point is an expository novel by Hugh Mackay, a "social commentator". It was written to reinforce his series of "Mackay reports" and concentrates on Australia's changing attitudes and values in, and as a result of the 90's. Each of his chapters pertains to a separate issue and all of them begin with a personal analogy that helps the reader understand what the chapter will discuss. It would be true to say it is not the quality of the texts arguments that makes the text effective, but also the power of its underlying values and assumptions. Because most arguments are not merely intellectual but have strong emotional overtones and spring from heart-felt convictions, underlying values and assumptions are the driving force behind intellectual and well-reasoned arguments. The values of Mackay presents in Turning Point are those of the majority of Australians. Attitudes are the symptoms of a society's state of mind. They reveal our responses to the things that have happened to us and, occasionally, they offer a glimpse of the kind of future we are hoping for. One of the dominant themes of Turning Point is that Australians are now in the midst of a culture shift so radical that it amounts to the discovery of a new way of thinking about Australia. Through his thorough research, Mackay has uncovered the hopes, fears and beliefs of the rapidly changing Australian society.
             Turning Point discusses the changes Australian society has experienced in the last 30 or so years. Mackay deals with these changes and the response of average Australians through his research and anecdotes. He sees us as a society deeply divided in economic and employment grounds where depression is the fifth most common disorder treated by general practitioners. An eclectic mix of values is aligned on the one hand to materialism, security and the traditional family and on the post-modern values of uncertainty, relativism and a more inclusive spirituality.

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