Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh

Gideon Haigh has been a journalist since 1984, and now works mainly for The Australian. His most recent book is The Brilliant Boy: Doc Evatt and the great Australian dissent (Scribner, 2021).

Gideon Haigh reviews 'The Vetting of Wisdom: Joan Montgomery and the fight for PLC' by Kim Rubenstein

September 2021, no. 435 19 August 2021
Gideon Haigh reviews 'The Vetting of Wisdom: Joan Montgomery and the fight for PLC' by Kim Rubenstein
Kim Rubenstein’s biography of Joan Montgomery, the venerable former principal of Melbourne’s Presbyterian Ladies’ College (PLC), has been thirty years in the making and is the definition of a labour of love. It involves Rubenstein, a distinguished and worldly legal scholar and human rights campaigner, revisiting scenes from her own life. She was a pupil at Montgomery’s PLC. As a first-year ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Virtual Murdoch' by Neil Chenoweth and 'Working for Rupert' by Hugh Lunn

August 2001, no. 233 01 August 2001
Gideon Haigh reviews 'Virtual Murdoch' by Neil Chenoweth and 'Working for Rupert' by Hugh Lunn
In the last week of June, after a period in the doldrums, the News Corporation share price suddenly took wing again. Buyers piled in. A lazy few hundred million dollars were added to the company’s value. The basis of the revaluation? Apparently, Rupert Murdoch himself had descended from Olympus to participate in a presentation to sharebrokers in Sydney. Enraptured at this visitation, analysts ha ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Rage' by Bob Woodward

November 2020, no. 426 02 October 2020
Gideon Haigh reviews 'Rage' by Bob Woodward
Tom Lehrer famously believed that Henry Kissinger’s Nobel Prize for Peace rendered satire impossible. Has Donald Trump’s presidency made the same true of political journalism? This may sound counterintuitive. After all, Trump has been a boon for news outlets and book publishing, as well as for social media. Bob Woodward’s Rage sold 600,000 copies in its first week. And that the dean of Whit ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'On Cricket' by Mike Brearley

May 2019, no. 411 22 April 2019
Gideon Haigh reviews 'On Cricket' by Mike Brearley
The first words I ever read by Mike Brearley were in my first Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack, the 1976 edition: they were a tribute to his long-time teammate at Middlesex, wicketkeeper John Murray. The tone was warm, generous, and largely conventional, with a single shaft of cool intelligence that stayed with me. Murray once confided in Brearley that his seemingly effortless style did not alwa ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Reporter: A memoir' by Seymour Hersh

September 2018, no. 404 23 August 2018
Gideon Haigh reviews 'Reporter: A memoir' by Seymour Hersh
The cover image on Seymour Hersh’s memoir, Reporter, could hardly be improved. Taken in 1974 in the newsroom of The New York Times, it shows Hersh with his left elbow propped on a typewriter with blank paper in the roller, sleeves rolled up and patterned tie loose around an unironed collar. He is leaning confidentially in to the receiver of what must be a rotary dial phone, listening intently, g ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Bullshit Jobs: A theory' by David Graeber

August 2018, no. 403 25 June 2018
Gideon Haigh reviews 'Bullshit Jobs: A theory' by David Graeber
Recently I solicited impressions of his job from the new head of external affairs at a big financial organisation. What had struck him first was the manpower at his disposal. The total headcount ran into many hundreds – larger than most if not all Australia’s print and electronic newsrooms. There was not merely one department. Each division of the institution had its own well-resourced team. ... (read more)

Gideon Haigh reviews 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' by Michael Wolff

March 2018, no. 399 01 February 2018
Gideon Haigh reviews 'Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House' by Michael Wolff
In his new account of Donald Trump’s presidency, Fire and Fury, Michael Wolff describes how Trump’s ‘adviser’ Steve Bannon counselled fellow White House newbies to read The Best and The Brightest as preparation for their administration’s tasks. Rarely for the mordant Bannon, his enthusiasm for David Halberstam’s 1972 classic of the West Wing mandarinate who mangled the Vietnam War seem ... (read more)

The mystery of the silent scribes

March 2014, no. 359 26 February 2014
The mystery of the silent scribes
In the classic Sherlock Holmes short story ‘Silver Blaze’, the great detective’s solution to the disappearance of the eponymous racehorse springs from his observation about ‘the curious incident of the dog in the night time’. But, Watson reasonably protests, the dog did nothing in the night time. ‘That,’ replies Holmes, ‘is the curious incident.’ It’s a similar curious inciden ... (read more)