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Inga Clendinnen

Inga Clendinnen

Inga Clendinnen (1934–2016) was the author of Aztecs: An interpretation, Reading the Holocaust, and the memoir Tiger’s Eye. She delivered the 1999 Boyer Lectures, published by ABC Books under the title True Stories. 

Inga Clendinnen reviews ‘Of Marriage, Violence and Sorcery: The quest for power in Northern Queensland’ by David McKnight

November 2005, no. 276 01 November 2005
This is the last of David McKnight’s quartet of books on the Lardil people of Mornington Island, with whom he has worked from his first field trip in 1966 until his most recent in 2001. (For reviews in these pages of two of them, From Hunting to Drinking and Going the Whiteman’s Way, see the October 2004 and the February 2005 issues, respectively.) The title is characteristically challenging. ... (read more)

Essay | The Crack in the Teacup: Reading Hilary Mantel by Inga Clendinnen

November 2003, no. 256 01 November 2003
About a decade ago, I picked up a book because I liked the cover: bleak street, stark buildings, empty sky, a robed man, his back turned, in the distance; in the foreground, a woman in a burka looking to the left at something we can’t see. When the blurb promised me ‘a Middle Eastern Turn of the Screw, with an insidious power to grip’, I bought it. It gripped. In fact, it scared the living b ... (read more)

Inga Clendinnen reviews 'Bruising: A Journey Through Gender' by Mischa Merz

October 2000, no. 225 01 October 2000
I have always been puzzled by society’s readiness to send their young men into battle, and that the young men go, and then tell such lies when they get home about what they saw when they looked on the face of battle. I hadn’t wondered about women, except to be glad that they were exempt from combat. Now comes Mischa Merz’s Bruising, which is about fear, aggression, and courage, and written o ... (read more)

Inga Clendinnen reviews 'The Death of William Gooch: A history’s anthropology' by Greg Dening

October 1995, no. 175 01 October 1995
I early disqualified myself from reviewing Greg Dening’s The Death of William Gooch: A history’s anthropology. For one thing, we are old friends. That means that if I told you that I think it a marvellous book (and I do), you might not believe me. There was another reason: being a friend, I had read much of the text in the writing, and knew the book in its earlier form as a Melbourne History D ... (read more)

Inga Clendinnen reviews 'The Culture of Forgetting: Helen Demidenko and the Holocaust' by Robert Manne

July 1996, no. 182 01 July 1996
Several books could and doubtless will be written to explore the sociological and psychological puzzles attending Helen Darville’ s remarkable masquerade. Robert Manne has no interest in the motivations of Helen Darville. His concerns are cultural and political, and therefore focus on the fictional character, Helen Demidenko: on her writings and statements, and on the responses of Australian int ... (read more)

'National Library Voices Essay: Reading Mr Robinson' by Inga Clendinnen

May 1995, no. 170 01 May 1995
I grew up in a once-upon-a-time land when milk and loaves appeared at the door to the jingle of bells and the clopping of hooves, when housewives were wistful Cinderellas in sacking aprons and hair permanently rollered for the ball, when men wore hats, and lifted them to the funerals of strangers passing in the street. That time – the forties, the early fifties – has been mythologised into a C ... (read more)

'A tribute to Helen Daniel' by Inga Clendinnen

November 2000, no. 226 06 December 2019
An occasion like this teaches us that we each have our own Helen Daniel. I met my Helen nearly ten years ago, appropriately through writing. I had written a book on the Aztecs of Mexico. It was primarily an academic book, but because it was published by a university press with a branch here, and because Aztecs are Aztecs, it was widely reviewed in this country. The material was esoteric and its in ... (read more)