Howard Jacobson charts the ascent of the four rebels to national, and indeed international, icons. Clive James and Germaine Greer take Cambridge by storm, whilst Barry Humphries finds his feet with Private Eye and Robert Hughes absorbs the culture of Italy. Before long, all are high profile figures - Clive as a journalist, Germaine confronting the world with The Female Eunuch, Barry unleashing Dame Edna and Bob becoming Time Magazine's most astringent art critic.
Yet, as their stars were rising in Britain and the US, their reception at home was becoming more frosty - as Howard says 'Australians are suspicious of poppies that grow too high'.
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