Politics

David Rolph reviews 'Closet Queens' by Michael Bloch

David Rolph

With marriage equality becoming the norm in Western countries (though, signally, not in Australia), it may be tempting to forget how recent and rapid and seemingly decisive changes in the legal treatment of, and social attitudes towards, homosexuality have been. The death of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in late August 2015 marked the passing of the last living public fi ... More

Finian Cullity reviews 'Restless Continent' by Michael Wesley

Finian Cullity

Australia does not have a great tradition of writers producing books on international affairs for a general audience. Along with others like Hugh White, Michael Wesley – a former head of the Lowy Institute now based at the Australian National University – is helping to correct this.

His previous work, More

Varun Ghosh reviews 'Born to Rule' by Paddy Manning

Varun Ghosh

Since deposing Tony Abbott on 14 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull has dominated Australian politics like a colossus. Turnbull's triumph, though long expected, happened quickly. The sense of national relief that followed was profound. The preceding eight years of Australian politics – scarcely the apotheosis of democratic governance – had produced intense public ... More

Nick Hordern reviews 'Frontline Ukraine' by Richard Sakwa

Nick Hordern

It is all Vladimir Putin's fault. Two years after the crisis in Ukraine erupted, the prevailing view in Europe, the United States, and Australia remains that responsibility for the conflict there – including the shooting down of flight MH17 – lies with Russia's president. This, the argument goes, is all part of Putin's plan to restore Russia's dominance of its r ... More

Ben Huf reviews 'Republicanism and Responsible Government' by Benjamin T. Jones

Ben Huf

Studies in the early history of Australian democracy have undergone a remarkable regeneration over the past decade. Since New South Wales's sesquicentenary of responsible government in 2006, books by Peter Cochrane and Terry Irving, and essays by Paul Pickering, Andrew Messner, and Sean Scalmer, have overhauled prevailing interpretations of the 1840s and 1850s, whic ... More

Mark Edele reviews 'Stalin, Volume I' by Stephen Kotkin and 'Stalin' by Oleg V. Khlevniuk

Mark Edele

How dissimilar two books on the same topic can be: one expansive and apparently unconstrained by word limits, the other constrained and economical; one following a simple chronological narrative, the other an admirable adaptation of literary techniques of multi-layered story telling. Both are political books, but the politics are as different as the personalities of ... More

Mark Triffitt reviews 'Inequality' by Anthony B. Atkinson

Mark Triffitt

If free markets promote themselves as the most effective and efficient way of creating and sharing prosperity, then growing inequality has emerged as one of their deepest failings in the early part of this century. After all, how ‘effective’ is having ninety-nine per cent of the world’s wealth go to less than one per cent of its population? Is it ‘effi ... More

'Sabotage: How the attack on renewables undermines government' by David Schlosberg

David Schlosberg

‘Pathetically inadequate’ was probably the most frequent description of the government’s voluntary emissions proposal for the United Nations Climate Change Conference; the description fits their climate and en ... More

Dennis Altman reviews 'The End of Representative Politics' by Simon Tormey

Dennis Altman

The questions Simon Tormey poses in The End of Representative Politics are crucial, and we need more political scientists willing to grapple with them. His is a well-informed, well written discussion of the apparent crisis of ‘traditional’ politics, and it deserves readers beyond the academy.

Tormey’s basic argument is that the forms of repres ... More

David Rolph reviews 'Australia Under Surveillance' by Frank Moorhouse

David Rolph

Operating in the shadows, security agencies usually have indifferent reputations. Their very nature prevents them from fully explaining themselves. At least some of their activities, if exposed to full scrutiny, would not enhance their reputations. There is a need for security agencies, yet the nature and scope of their role, powers, and responsibilities are contest ... More

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