James Dunk

James Dunk reviews 'Memorandoms by James Martin: An astonishing escape from early New South Wales' edited by Tim Causer

James Dunk
06 December 2017

In 1784 William Bryant was sentenced, rather optimistically, to be transported to the American colonies. Britain had just lost the War of Independence; Bryant thus languished in a hulk in More

James Dunk reviews 'Dr James Barry: A woman ahead of her time' by Michael du Preez and Jeremy Dronfield

James Dunk
20 December 2016

‘The devil! It’s a woman!’ exclaimed a charwoman as she laid out the naked body of James Barry, MD, for burial. Seventy-six years earlier, Barry had been born ...

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James Dunk reviews 'Finding Sanity: John Cade, lithium and the taming of bipolar disorder' by Greg De Moore and Ann Westmore

James Dunk
28 October 2016

Edward sits on Sydney Harbour Bridge, considering jumping. It is 1948, and he has written several times to George VI about building a new naval base in the waters below, and not ...

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James Dunk reviews 'The Profilist' by Adrian Mitchell

James Dunk
21 December 2015

'Everything is so sedate you could weep for vexation.' The first novel of literary academic Adrian Mitchell is a strange one. It is a fictional memoir that aims to inhabit the imagined world of the colonial artist S.T. Gill. This is a conceit that should free the narrative from the mundane, but The Profilist is a study in the ordinary.

The novel is ... More

Partisan

James Dunk
19 May 2015

Gregori stares at the camera, his eyes hard and sure as he watches five babies being wheeled through the corridors of a maternity ward, selects a mother with a split lip and no flowers, and charms her. When he strokes the face of her child, Alexander, his eyes are tender. The range between these expressions is the heart of Partisan.

Through an unmarke ... More

James Dunk reviews 'Seasons of War' by Christopher Lee

James Dunk
30 March 2015

Seasons of War is a fictional firsthand account of the Allied invasion of Gallipoli. Opposite the title page, the blurb suggests that it offers ‘the kind of truth that only fiction can’: what it felt like to be there, and how being there transformed the Australian nation (a contention which belongs, truly, to fiction).

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James Dunk reviews 'The Man Who Thought He was Napoleon' by Laure Murat

James Dunk
02 March 2015

In 1798, during the revolutionary wars on the European mainland, the Irish rebelled. Though they were supported militarily by the French Republic, it was the ideas heralded by the Revolution that gave real strength to their cause. A decade later, in Dublin, William Hallaran argued in hisAn Enquiry Into the Causes Producing the Extraordinary Addition to the Number ... More