Simon Caterson

Simon Caterson reviews 'The Challenge of Things: Thinking Through Troubled Times' by A.C. Grayling

Simon Caterson
30 March 2016

As a liberal-minded, London-based philosopher prepared to engage in the mainstream press with major topics of the day, A.C. Grayling is always up for a challenge. Although much of Grayling's commentary conforms to the classical liberal view of things, now and then logic dictates that he takes a stance that may seem radical in those terms.

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Simon Caterson reviews 'Australian Catholic Lives' by Edmund Campion

Simon Caterson
29 May 2015

‘Most history is simply lost.’ By means of a regular biographical column in the Jesuit magazine Madonna published over the past twenty-five years, Father Edmund Campion has preserved pieces of Australian personal history that might otherwise have been neglected, if not forgotten altogether. In this, the author’s second collection of biographical sketche ... More

Simon Caterson reviews 'Mannix' by Brenda Niall

Simon Caterson
25 March 2015

With her long-awaited life of Archbishop Daniel Mannix, Brenda Niall, one of Australia’s leading biographers, has conquered a subject that for decades she regarded as compelling yet ‘intractable’. ‘As a presence (I wouldn’t claim such a remote and magisterial being as a neighbour) Daniel Mannix was part of my childhood,’ Niall recalls. She grew up in the ... More

Simon Caterson reviews 'The Rich' by John Kampfner

Simon Caterson
02 March 2015

Just how different are the rich from everyone else? F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in a 1926 short story that they are ‘soft where we are hard, and cynical where we are trustful, in a way that, unless you were born rich, it is very difficult to understand. They think, deep in their hearts, that they are better than we are because we had to discover the compensations an ... More

Simon Caterson on 'Melbourne: City of Words'

Simon Caterson
30 September 2013

To judge by John McLaren’s thought-provoking survey of 200 years of writing about Melbourne, the city’s most insidious negative feature for many observers – wrong-headed though they may be – is dullness. In George Johnston’s My Brother Jack (1964), the narrator David Meredith rails against the suburbs as ‘worse than slums. They betrayed noth ... More

Simon Caterson reviews 'Collecting Ladies'

Simon Caterson
26 June 2013

We are used to modern science being conducted as a collaborative effort involving teams of researchers in laboratories, but imagine a huge research project requiring thousands of researchers and covering every corner of an entire continent (and beyond) being organised successfully with no telephone or Internet.

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Simon Caterson on 'John le Carré’s spy at fifty'

Simon Caterson
26 May 2013

In describing the enduring cultural impact of The Spy Who Came in from the Cold – published fifty years ago and often nominated as the best spy novel ever written – a good place to start, strange though it may sound, is James Bond. John le Carré’s squalid yet subtle world of Cold War spies may appear antithetical to the glamorous fantasy of Bond. ... More

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