Eugenia by Mark Tedeschi QC is a most extraordinary story. It describes events that occurred more than eighty years ago, and yet the story resonates today because of the public’s engagement in a contentious socio-political discussion. The key dimensions include family and societal rejection, rape, twice married, jailed and ultimately an accidental death. Mark Tedeschi has forensically unraveled this person’s story and calmly reasoned some aspects of it where no evidence or witnesses survive to confirm facts.
The relevance for today is the current debate over same-sex marriage and the not unreasonable observation that society generally is moving to a far more accepting position of embracing or tolerating of the sexual preferences of individuals. The style is mainly very easy to read and fast moving with chapters kept brief and in line with events and the known facts. The commentary on the psychological and physiological dimensions at play through the story are dealt with very appropriately. Some latter sections dwell in detail on the legal processes and their acceptability at the time of the events or in today’s legal and social environment. Some may find these latter aspects tedious, but they are essential to ensuring a balanced and clearer view of this person’s story.
Consistently I found myself saying “this is unbelievable”, but it was true and left me as the reader with a sense of sadness, but comforted by the view it wouldn’t happen in this way today – or could it?
Despite the information available now on the ubiquitous web and the several documentaries produced, I was like many I suspect unaware of this story. It took a person with the enquiring mind, analytical skills, patience and social conscience of the author to produce this book
Find Eugenia by Mark Tedeschi QC in the SMSA Library Catalogue
Reviewed by Brian Johnston
Secretary of the SMSA