Monash contributor

Australians tend to have an ambivalent attitude to their respective police forces. We automat- ically expect that they will be there in an emergency. We share their grief when one of their number is killed while on duty, yet we regard Ned Kelly as a folk hero, even though he was responsible for the murder of three policemen in ...

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Set in England during the Big Freeze of 1962–63 – the coldest winter in nearly 300 years – Robert Lukins’s first novel tells the story of Radford, who is sent to live at Goodwin Manor, ‘a place for boys who have been found by trouble’. The Manor is overseen by Teddy, a charismatic depressive, who resists ...

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A Scandal in Bohemia: The life and death of Mollie Dean is Gideon Haigh’s engrossing account of the circumstances surrounding the unsolved 1930 murder in Elwood of primary school teacher, aspiring journalist, and bohemian, Mollie Dean. Less true crime journalism than an interrogation of the genre, Haigh’s ...

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Duumvirates frequently dominate politics, irrespective of whether they are partners or rivals: Napoleon and Talleyrand; Nixon and Kissinger; Mao and Deng. But few second bananas survive history’s vicissitudes. A dwindling portion of the Australian public might still recognise the names of Robert Menzies and John Curtin ...

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John Curtin may be our most extensively documented prime minister. He is the subject of many biographies (including one by the author of the volume reviewed here) and countless chapters and articles, and is necessarily a central figure in war histories of the 1940s. John Edwards ventures into a well-populated field ...

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Translation can be an art or a craft; seldom simple, it is often unappreciated. We tend to forget that the global community of ceaseless interconnectivity could not exist without translation, or bilingualism. Without translation there is Babel, but with its quiet, endless grinding, translation brings down walls and creates porous ...

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Who knows why, but there have been at least three films in recent months focusing on the Dunkirk evacuation: Lone Scherfig’s Their Finest, Christopher Nolan’s magisterial Dunkirk. and now Joe Wright’s Darkest Hour. Unsurprisingly in view of this, we have also seen a lot of Winston Churchill on our screens ...

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In this dark historical novel, Garry Disher imagines a world in which small girls are sold by their desperate families and enslaved to men such as the brutal ‘scrap man’ – ‘a schemer, a plotter, a trickster’ in whom ‘nothing ... rang true except rage and self-pity’ and who profits from the labour of womenfolk known as Wife, Big Girl ...

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Readers of this review are warned that they are in the presence of an addict. Having read Anthony Powell’s monumental twelve-volume Dance to the Music of Time three times, I had been trying not to succumb to a fourth. Then along comes Hilary Spurling’s brilliant biography and will power has suffered total defeat ...

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Few organisations defend their reputation more vigorously than the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Long since clasped to the national bosom, the ADF has no intention of being shoehorned out of its prized position at the heart of Australian identity and culture. The first duty of its public affairs personnel is to protect ...

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