Geoffrey Blainey

Geoffrey Blainey

Geoffrey Blainey, a practising historian for some sixty years, has written on Australian and world history. Long attracted to museums, he was deputy chairman of the Whitlam government's Enquiry into Museums and National Collections in 1974–75. Later, he served on the board of the Australian War Memorial for seven years. His book, The Causes of War (1973, 1988), is debated in military academies and in US universities.

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 17, 1981–1990, A–K' edited by Diane Langmore

February 2008, no. 298 01 February 2008
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Australian Dictionary of Biography Vol. 17, 1981–1990, A–K' edited by Diane Langmore
This is the latest volume of a reference work which should sit on the shelves of every municipal library. It assesses the lives of people, mostly prominent, who died in the years 1981–90. It lists them in alphabetical order; a further volume will be needed to embrace the 600 or 700 people whose surnames began with the letters L to Z. ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Gallipoli' by Robin Prior

June 2009, no. 312 01 June 2009
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Gallipoli' by Robin Prior
Our fascination with Gallipoli is probably at a peak. Like other symbolic events, it rises, falls and rises again in public esteem and curiosity. In the last quarter of a century, beginning when Anzac Day was at a low ebb, books and documentaries about Gallipoli have flooded bookshops and television stations. This new book by Professor Robin Prior, a specialist Australian historian of World War I, ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Cruiser: The life and loss of HMAS Perth and her crew' by Mike Carlton

October 2010, no. 325 01 October 2010
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Cruiser: The life and loss of HMAS Perth and her crew' by Mike Carlton
Australian war historians usually find their theme in the army. Mike Carlton, a well-known journalist, thinks it is time to praise the Australian warship Perth and its men: ‘They were the flower of Australia’s greatest generation. No other has been so tested.’ It is fair to suggest that the Perth is virtually unknown to the typical Australian today, and certainly less familiar than her sist ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Changing Fortunes: A history of the Australian treasury' by Paul Tilley

December 2019, no. 417 25 November 2019
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Changing Fortunes: A history of the Australian treasury' by Paul Tilley
Paul Tilley classes the Treasury, now housed in Canberra, as ‘one of Australia’s great enduring institutions’. It began humbly in 1901, in a smallish stone building that still stands at the corner of Collins and Spring Streets in Melbourne. That handsome structure appears to be just about the correct size for its initial staff of five. Just across the street stands a statue of Sir William Cl ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Pompey Elliott at War: In his own words' by Ross McMullin

August 2018, no. 403 26 July 2018
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Pompey Elliott at War: In his own words' by Ross McMullin
General ‘Pompey’ Elliott was a famous Australian in 1918, half forgotten seventy years later, and is now a national military hero. This Anzac Day he stood high. On French soil he was praised by France’s prime minister, Édouard Philippe, in one of the most mesmerising and sensitive speeches ever offered by a European leader to Australian ears. Probably Elliott now stands just below General S ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Three Duties and Talleyrand’s Dictum: Keith Waller: Portrait of a working diplomat' by Alan Fewster

April 2018, no. 400 26 March 2018
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Three Duties and Talleyrand’s Dictum: Keith Waller: Portrait of a working diplomat' by Alan Fewster
Keith Waller was one of the top ambassadors in a period when Australia urgently needed them. During the Cold War, he served in Moscow and then Washington, where a skilled resident diplomat could be more important than a visiting prime minister. As a young arts graduate, he had moved in 1936 from Melbourne to Canberra, where one of his first jobs was working for Billy Hughes, who had been prime mi ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'A Little History of Economics' by Niall Kishtainy

September 2017, no. 394 30 August 2017
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'A Little History of Economics' by Niall Kishtainy
For maybe one century the subject called Economics was monarch of the social sciences. Then the Western world was poorer than it is now, and many economists promised to find a pathway towards the abolition of hunger and unemployment. They also hoped to abolish war: the eager ideologies of free trade were believed by their disciples to be long-term recipes for international peace. This Little Hist ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Bearing Witness' by Peter Rees

June-July 2015, no. 372 28 May 2015
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Bearing Witness' by Peter Rees
Charles Bean is now seen as one of the classiest journalists and historians Australia has produced. Like many talented historians, he had no prior training in his craft, except as a war correspondent during World War I, when he wrote in the face of daily and nightly dangers such as most war journalists no longer have to confront. I have the strong impression that when I first tried to be a histor ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'A Companion to the Australian Media' edited by Bridget Griffen-Foley

March 2015, no. 369 26 February 2015
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'A Companion to the Australian Media' edited by Bridget Griffen-Foley
This impressive collection of knowledge ranges from the history of newspapers and the biographies of radio and television stars to the rise of media owners (the first of whom, Andrew Bent, arrived as a convict in 1812). It covers war reporting, food and sports coverage, children’s radio, blogging and podcasting, and even the life of the radio serial Blue Hills, which ran from 1949 to 1976. ... (read more)

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Dick Hamer: The liberal Liberal' by Tim Colebatch

January-February 2015, no. 368 01 January 2015
Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Dick Hamer: The liberal Liberal' by Tim Colebatch
Rupert (‘Dick’) Hamer proved to be one of Australia’s most innovative premiers. One sign of his unusual prestige is that this history of his life and times has perhaps been publicly praised more by Labor leaders than by his own Liberal colleagues. Hamer’s family background was in the church, law, business, and politics. His paternal grandfather was the minister of the wealthy Independent ... (read more)
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