war

Robin Prior reviews 'All Hell Let Loose' by Max Hastings

Robin Prior
Monday, 23 January 2012

It is a brave undertaking to write a single-volume history of World War II. As Max Hastings notes, we already have many good books in this category: Weinberg, A World At Arms: A Global History of World War II (1994); Calvocoressi, Wint, and Pritchard, Total War: The Causes and Courses of the Second World War (1989); Millett and Murray, A War To ...

War is one of the great paradoxes of Australia. Why should a people occupying a continent so far from the world’s trouble spots have spent so much of their history dying in often distant wars? It is one of the questions that drew me to the study of Australian history. I am little the wiser after reading this collection of Australian war writing. This is partly bec ...

Many of us would find it as hard as Shaw’s Ladvenu does to think of any good reason for torture. It seems medieval, it is abhorrent, it is internationally illegal, and it doesn’t work. Statements made under torture are legally useless, and their value as intelligence is not much better ...

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Amos Oz: Scenes from Village Life

Colin Golvan
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

The redemptive power of dreams

Colin Golvan

 

Scenes from Village Life
by Amos Oz
Chatto & Windus, $29.95 hb, 265 pp, 9780701185503

 

Amos Oz, who is at the pinnacle of Israeli writing, epitomises the role of writer as a voice of hope, a moral guid ...

Tariq Ali: The Obama Syndrome

Dennis Altman
Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Trashing Obama

Dennis Altman

 

The Obama Syndrome: Surrender at Home, War Abroad
by Tariq Ali
Verso, $29.95 pb, 219 pp, 9781844677573

 

Tariq Ali, proclaims the Guardian, ‘has been a leading figure of the international left since the 60s’. ...

Of the fate of Australian prisoners of war in the hands of the Japanese during World War II, the literature – memoir, fiction, history – is voluminous. There were 21,652 of them, of whom thirty-five per cent, or 7780, perished. A good deal has also been written of enemy prisoners – Japanese, German, Italian – who were held in camps in this country, and in pa ...

The title of this new book on the Vietnam War comes from the final verse cycle of Tennyson’s Idylls of the King (1869). As Arthur lies dying, he reflects ‘that we / Shall never more ... Delight our souls with talk of knightly deeds’. This Arthurian borrowing for the title of a book about an obscure battle fought by Australians in Vietnam during the 19 ...

Robin Prior: Received versions of the Great War

Robin Prior
Thursday, 21 April 2011

Michael McKernan states in his introduction to his short book on Gallipoli that he is dissatisfied with much writing on military history. He writes: ‘Military history is often presented as a thing of maps and statistics, a brutal narrative based on the deployments and motives of commanders with a score sheet of those who performed well and those who failed. In thi ...

Stephen Mansfield reviews 'Crack Hardy' by Stephen Dando-Collins

Stephen Mansfield
Thursday, 21 April 2011

While explorations of Australia at war have never been short on ‘male stories’, the prevalence of the masculine frame may yet increase in coming years as part of the ongoing examination of competing forms of manhood in this country, as evidenced by the upcoming symposium ‘Embattled Men: Masculinity and War’ at the Australian National University. The publicit ...

Stuart Macintyre reviews 'Curtin’s Empire' by James Curran

Stuart Macintyre
Thursday, 24 March 2011

‘A peculiar bloke, Jack; you never knew him. You couldn’t get close to him.’ Reg Pollard, who was one of the abler members of the Labor Caucus in the 1940s, confessed his puzzlement to Lloyd Ross as Curtin’s biographer gathered personal testimony ...

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