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Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards

Peter Edwards is a historian specialising in Australia’s national security policies and policy-making. He is the Official Historian of Australia’s involvement in conflicts in Malaya, Borneo, and Vietnam, for which he wrote Crises and Commitments (1992) and A Nation at War (1997). He is also the author of Arthur Tange: Last of the Mandarins (2006), Permanent Friends? Historical Reflections on the Australian–American Alliance (2005), and Prime Ministers and Diplomats (1983); the co-editor of Facing North (vol. 2, 2003); the editor of Defence Policy-Making (2008) and  Australia Through American Eyes (1977); and a founding editor of the series of Documents on Australian Foreign Policy. His latest book is Law, Politics and Intelligence: A life of Robert Marsden Hope (2020).

Peter Edwards reviews 'The Partnership: The inside story of the US–Australian Alliance under Bush and Howard' by Greg Sheridan

October 2006, no. 285 01 October 2006
If journalism is the first draft of history, this book is a rough-hewn draft of some important historical chunks. Greg Sheridan, the foreign editor of The Australian, may not match some of his colleagues there in gravitas, intellectual depth, or analytical precision, but he compensates with an abundance of enthusiasm and enviable access to those in high office. In the early and mid-1990s, when The ... (read more)

Peter Edwards reviews 'Stanley Melbourne Bruce: Australian internationalist' by David Lee

October 2010, no. 325 01 October 2010
One of the most disconcerting aspects of the 2010 election campaign was the intrusion of former prime ministers and aspirants to that post. Liberals had tired of Malcolm Fraser’s interventions long before he decided not to renew his membership of the party. Labor supporters did not welcome another round of bickering between Bob Hawke and Paul Keating. The interventions of Mark Latham were hardly ... (read more)

Peter Edwards reviews 'The Nashos' War: Australia's National Servicemen and Vietnam' by Mark Dapin

March 2015, no. 369 01 March 2015
In late April, the commemorations of the centenary of the Gallipoli landing will inevitably overshadow another significant anniversary in Australia’s military, political, and social history. On 29 April 1965, fifty years to the week after the landing at Anzac Cove, the Menzies government announced the commitment of an Australian infantry battalion to the growing conflict in Vietnam. That announc ... (read more)

Peter Edwards reviews 'Vietnam: The Complete Story of the Australian War' by Peter Edwards

December 2012–January 2013, no. 347 28 November 2012
Writing a book on a large, multifaceted, and complex historical subject on which there is a vast amount of source material is a little like sculpting a substantial yet elegant statue from marble. In this case, the sculpting process is far from complete. A potentially valuable book remains submerged within this long and inadequately edited volume. A clue to the problem lies in the subtitle, which a ... (read more)

Peter Edwards reviews 'Australia and the "New World Order": From Peacekeeping to Peace Enforcement: 1988–1991' by David Horner

July–August 2011, no. 333 29 June 2011
When the United States recently announced its commitment to enforce a ‘no-fly zone’ in Libya, the State Department spokesman was asked whether the United States was now at war. He could only manage a floundering non-answer. The unfortunate spokesman’s difficulty with this apparently simple question is a reminder of the vast changes in the nature of military conflict in recent decades. Major ... (read more)
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