‘A glittering gem of a memoir.’

Robert Macklin, Canberra Times

‘Searingly funny account of growing up in a working-class family in 1950s Australia … holds a special place in the heart of thousands of Australians and that has made Hugh Lunn a national treasure.’

Southern Highland News, Bowral

‘A universal story about growing up.’

Ross Fitzgerald, The Australian

‘Very funny and irreverent … a classic.’

John Tidey, Melbourne Age

‘A triumph for Australian publishing.’

Ian McNamara, Australia All Over, ABC Radio,

‘A wonderful, wonderful read. It takes pride of place in my house. I’m a very proud … Australian and the things that that book covered. It was me. And I’m sure a lot of people saw themselves in all the things described. It was all very, very true.’

Wayne Roberts, Brisbane radio

‘An embarrassing book to read in public. I defy you to read it without laughing out loud.’

Ray Martin, Midday Show, Channel Nine


‘Brilliantly witty … deftly written. This is a wonderful, and wonderfully innocent, beguiling book. Do yourself a favour. Devour Head Over Heels.’

Ross Fitzgerald, Melbourne Age

‘Dripping with poignancy. The characters are so warmly traced that you find yourself rooting for young Hugh. Like Over the Top with Jim it will hit the vivid recall butt on for a great many readers. And you do laugh out loud.’

Quentin Dempster, Sydney Morning Herald

‘Lunn has mastered that very difficult technique of drawing the reader into a world which is just as real, just as poignant, as our own reality … A gorgeously entertaining read.’

Robert Macklin, Canberra Times

‘Nothing goes quite right for the child in Over the Top with Jim or the young journalist in Head Over Heels. How can you not warm to a character who makes the rest of us seem adequate?’

John Edwards, Time magazine

‘It is perhaps only in Head Over Heels that Jim Egoroff — having fully developed his incredible physical strength and lost none of his idiosyncrasy — achieves true mythic status. My whole household read the book and everyone laughed out loud.’

Christina A. Thompson, Queensland: Words and All

‘The absolute funniest book that’s been put out in Australia for years.’

Ray Martin, Midday Show, Channel Nine

‘Hugh’s mad Russian-born mate Jim Egoroff could fracture a coconut and the English language with similar ease.’

Graeme Johnstone, Melbourne Herald-Sun

‘Hugh Lunn combines the journalist’s disciplined eye with what Dorothy Parker defined as an essential quality of the humourist: the wild eye … [but] below the pen’s light touch one can sense long-forgotten pain.’

Herb Hild, Catholic Leader


‘Hugh Lunn’s strength is finding human drama in complex issues.’

Melbourne Sunday Age

‘Lunn has a fine style, and his descriptions of scenes, events and of people etch deeply on the memory. He is able to convey the excitement of a moment and describe everyday events with a realism and conviction that carries a reader into the scene. His dry sense of humour lift s the book and is a great asset.’

Kristen Vizjak, Canberra Times

‘Hugh Lunn’s description of his term as a war correspondent in Vietnam, culminating in the Tet offensive of 1968 and the deaths of three fellow journalists, makes a moving story, well written, genuine and convincing. The difficulties and frustrations of journalists trying to interpret for readers in countries far distant from the battlefields are recounted calmly, without dramatics. The fantasies fed out daily as fact at the official American army news briefings are described with humour and quiet despair. Hugh Lunn’s writing in Vietnam: A Reporter’s War ranks with some of the best expository prose of recent years in this or any other country.’

Judges’ Report, 1985 Age Book of the Year

‘It was this book, and Bowden’s One Crowded Hour, that first got me thinking about being a war correspondent. Years later, I’m now covering conflict …’

Michael Ware, while working for Time magazine as its war correspondent in Afghanistan and Iraq

‘Hugh Lunn, thankfully, has no Rambo-esque pretensions. He is as frightened as most of us would be by booby traps going off, mortars falling … and machine gun fire cutting up the dirt … His book presents in memorable detail exactly what it is like to be a non-combatant reporter in a war zone. More than that, it provides major insights into how news is manipulated and twisted to suit governments and editorial policies … Written in Lunn’s typical laconic and laid back style, it is very easy to read – perhaps too easy as one gets to the end much too soon. But for all the facility of his prose, there is nothing facile about his observations on a reporter’s war. This is an important book. It may well become a classic of its kind.’

Ken Methold, Australian Book Review

‘A valuable and timely antidote to the rampant Rambo mentality … Hugh Lunn has written about it truly. Even the lies are true.’

Mike Carlton, Radio 2UE, Sydney

‘The “reporter’s war” is really about people. Jim Pringle, Bruce Pigott, Miss Nga… It is clear that chief amongst all these people must be the lovably resourceful character of Dinh. As the book concludes, it is hardly surprising that this man who is trying his best to live through the impossible conditions of the war and its aftermath becomes Lunn’s central and final story.’

New Perspectives 88: Approaches to Year 12 English, Victoria

‘!!!! Exceptional’

‘Best Reads 2002’, Today’s Books (USA)

‘Clear-eyed honesty, meticulous fact-finding, and a disarmingly informal style.’

Peter Richardson, Sunshine Coast Sunday

‘Warm, witty, pithy and always entertaining.’

Jeremy Fenton, Northern Rivers Echo

‘A mind-blowing depiction of a non-combatant in US uniform.’

Rosemary O’Grady, Adelaide Advertiser


‘Think Russell Crowe in tennis whites.’

New York Tennis magazine

‘The life of a working-class kid from Brisbane who, with only his talent and charm, conquered the world … So compulsively entertaining … imbued with warmth and charm.’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘The best sporting biography you will ever read … brilliantly and simply written … as moving as it is informative.’

Alan Jones, 2GB Radio

‘This wonderfully entertaining biography succeeds where many fail — it gives the reader a strong sense of the person … Written with love, humour and without pulling any punches.’

Dianne Dempsey, Melbourne Age

‘A fascinating portrait of a different era in tennis … the cover describes Fletcher as an “Aussie larrikin”, but Lunn delivers a much more complex figure than that, a man brought undone by quirks of fate and character. Superior sports writing.’

Keith Almond, Melbourne Herald Sun

‘Ken Fletcher faced life with a smile on his dial … He didn’t just embrace the experience of living, he devoured it.’

Mike Colman, Brisbane Sunday Mail

‘This book had me wishing I could race out and buy tickets to the tennis in the 1960s … Ken Fletcher was the James Bond of the tennis world, mixing it up with film stars and royalty, yet worried that his mum would disapprove of his glamour-boy life.’

Kris Humphreys, Melbourne Sunday Age and Sydney Sun Herald

‘I haven’t read a better sports biography in years … as good as it gets. A great writer, Hugh Lunn … has produced … a marvellous biography that does great justice to the memory of the man and his amazing adventures around the world as he is courted by (and courts) royalty, movie stars, billionaires and the pantheon of tennis. You’ll experience Fletch’s charm … and you’ll be genuinely moved by the mad, magic rollercoaster of his life. They don’t make ’em like The Great Fletch anymore.’

Graem Sims, Inside Sport magazine

‘Lunn writes here (as he always does) in an easy, generous, quirky, conversational way … Ken Fletcher, for many of us, may be elevated into an antipodean version of Paul Bunyan or Dick Whittington …’

Mark Thomas, Canberra Times

‘Fletcher is brought lovingly to life … Lunn is an excellent scribe and this book transcends the usual sporting hero pap.’

Adelaide Advertiser

‘Hugh Lunn has the marvellous ability to take us back in time to where nostalgia meets reality …’

Michael Roser, Toowoomba Chronicle


‘It’s a knockout.’

Piers Akerman, Daily Telegraph

‘It’s a winner.’

Mary Rose Liverani, Weekend Australian

‘It’s a ripper.’

Ian ‘Macca’ McNamara, ABC Radio


‘Wonderful book…If you don’t find it utterly fascinating, well, I’ll eat my hat.’

Phil Brown, Brisbane Courier Mail QWeekend [2022]

To open Lost for Words up at any page is to invite an onrush of childhood memory, tinged with melancholy that so many of these colourful expressions are being driven out of usage by the unstoppable march of American-accented global English.’

Annie Warburton, Hobart Mercury

‘More than nostalgia with quality. It is a series of episodes, stories, word-lists and reflections, lovingly collected and recollected. Lunn’s is the spoken English of a wide swathe of Australia only half a century ago.’

Roly Sussex, Brisbane Courier-Mail

‘Cleverly constructed to show modern readers its context, it’s not always about a dead vernacular…it shows the home-grown colour we could share before being swamped by US celebrity-speak.’

John Hampshire, Sydney Sun-Herald

‘A valuable bit of Australian history because it is unique in that it is not yet another of the “bewdy bottler, strewth” genre, but more an accurate reflection of how we spoke…Lunn cleverly intersperses his breezy, friendly discourses with 15 episodes of a radio serial. Lunn has done a great and entertaining job of covering just about every aspect of life in the suburban ‘50s.’

Malcolm Weatherup, Townsville Bulletin

‘The words of mainly urban 1950s Australians. But what a colourful, ironic mob they were.’

West Australian

‘Lunn’s bent is not only nostalgic, he also protests how much we have lost to US linguistic imperialism and government PC newspeak. Great value.’

Lucy Sussex, Melbourne Sunday Age

‘Lunn believes Australians have lost, perhaps surrendered, a language that was colourful and pithy and distinctively our own…huge and sprawling collection…The delight comes from the recognition of forgotten phrases…his enthusiasm for the byways of the native tongue can be infectious.’

Sydney Morning Herald

‘As Americanisms permeate our language, best-selling Australian author Hugh Lunn is clinging on to the past for dear life…Lost for Words captures some of the great Aussie phrases and sayings that have enriched Strine…a comprehensive compendium and an insight into another era.’

Melbourne Herald Sun [April 2006]

‘A treasury of clever, funny and uniquely Down Under slang…a reminder of how much has been lost in today’s world of homogenized global media. Lunn’s skill is to not only bring together an impressive collection of inventive words, phrases and sayings, but neatly explain them in context.’

Melbourne Herald Sun [June 2006]

‘A compendium of Aussie lingo presented in the inimitable Lunn style – folksy and personal, just the way his readers like it.’

Phil Brown, Brisbane News

‘No debate about it. Hugh Lunn has hit the nail on the head.’

Michael Jacobson, Gold Coast Bulletin

‘Lunn was determined this important part of Australian culture would not disappear…phrases such as “a bludger who wouldn’t work in an iron lung” will bring back memories of favourite uncles and old conversations. If you are one of many Australians regretting the Americanisation of our language, this book is for you.’

Jean Ferguson, Illawarra Mercury

Lost for Words provides a real insight into another era, where not only the language, but also the values and expectations, were vastly different from modern society. To avoid a boring list of old terms and phrases, Hugh has come up with many interesting ways of relaying the information…bound to transport people back to a time when these phrases were popular, triggering memories of yesteryear.’

Outback Magazine