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Letters to the Editor

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Book of the Week


The Fatal Lure of Politics: The life and thought of Vere Gordon Childe by Terry Irving

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A young Australian radical, who finds academic success later in life, struggles with an inexorable question: what is the relationship between these two worlds: the activist and the scholar? This question animated the life of Vere Gordon Childe, the Australian Marxist and intellectual whose The Dawn of Euro pean Civilization (1925) helped establish modern archaeology, as it has his most recent biographer, activist and labour historian Terry Irving, whose Class Structure in Australian History (1981, with Raewyn Connell) remains a key text.



Open Page with Trent Dalton

I’m the buffoon with the flailing arms thanking every last booklover who dropped some hard-earned money, cleared the diary for an hour, hopped in their car, paid for parking, found the right tent on the map, and came to hear me talk about the thing that makes my legs move.


January-February 2019, no. 408

Open Page with Geoffrey Lehmann

At night I sit on the brick patio of a beach house at Currarong with a garden of flannel flowers and kangaroo paws. I listen to the ocean through a windbreak of low eucalypts and banksias, just a hundred paces away.


May 2019, no. 411

Open Page with Judith Brett

Camping at Thurra River in the Croajingalong National Park, swimming in its tannin estuary, cooking fresh fish, gossiping while walking its long white beaches, watching the sea eagles soar.

From the Archive

June 1999, no. 211

John Donnelly reviews Benang: From the heart by Kim Scott

Kim Scott is described on the inside cover of Benang, his second novel, as ‘a descendant of  people who have always lived along the south-east coast of Western Australia and is glad to be living in times when it is possible to explore the significance of that fact and be one among those who call themselves Nyoongar ...

From the Archive

October 2001, no. 235

The Art of the Engine Driver by Stephen Carroll & Summerland: A Novel by Malcolm Knox

If history is a graveyard of dead aristocracies, the novel is their eulogy. It is now, for instance, a critical commonplace to explain the young Proust’s entry into the closed world of France’s nobility as an occurrence made possible by its dissolution. Close to death, holding only vestigial power, the fag ends of the ancien régime lost the will or ...

From the Archive

September 1991, no. 134

Usher by Matthew Condon

The usher of the book’s title is T. Nelson Downs, long-time resident of Burleigh Heads. (The T. Doesn’t stand for anything; it was a parental whim.) He’s one of those wonderful, original, exasperating people full of impossible ideas (such as marketing gigantic ice sculptures for public occasions using skilled tradesmen brought out especially from Florence).

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