For progressive Australians, 2022 was a year of optimism. But in these turbulent times, there is much work to be done to translate that hope into concrete reform that makes Australia a better place. My book of the year, Ben Schneiders’ Hard Labour: Wage theft in the age of inequality (Scribe), was a powerful reminder of the inequalities at the heart of Australian society. Schneiders, an investigative journalist, has broken most of the major wage-theft stories in Australia over the past decade, revealing hundreds of billions in unpaid wages by major companies. Hard Labour, his book-length account of that reporting, explains the frailties in our industrial system that permit such widescale exploitation and offers suggestions for reform. Dreamers and Schemers: A political history of Australia (La Trobe University Press, reviewed in the November 2022 issue of ABR), by Frank Bongiorno, promises to become the definitive Australian political history. Essential summer reading.