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Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman

Dennis Altman is a Vice Chancellor's Fellow at La Trobe University. His most recent books are God Save the Queen (Scribe, 2021) and  Death in the Sauna (Clouds of Magellan, 2023).

Dennis Altman reviews ‘The Question of Zion’ by Jacqueline Rose

September 2005, no. 274 01 September 2005
The tragedy of Israel is that it wishes, simultaneously, to be a liberal democratic nation, one whose citizenship is defined by universal norms, and at the same time a Jewish state, where even Palestinians born within the borders of the country are denied full equality. I still remember my unease when I visited Israel many years ago at being asked when I, a secular Jew, intended to ‘come home’ ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews ‘What Was It All For?: The reshaping of Australia’ by Don Aitkin and ‘Australia Fair’ by Hugh Stretton

February 2006, no. 278 01 February 2006
Don Aitken was born in 1937, Hugh Stretton in 1924. They have both had distinguished academic careers, making important contributions to the development of Australian social science, and at various points have been prominent in public debate. Both of these books might be seen as reflections on the current state of Australia, about which the younger Aitken is clearly more optimistic than is Stretto ... (read more)

‘The spectre of tribalism: Reflections on Israel, AIDS and identity politics’ by Dennis Altman

March 2024, no. 462 22 February 2024
‘Life would be infinitely happier if we could only be born at the age of eighty and gradually approach eighteen.’ Mark Twain Last year I turned eighty. Vacillating between denial and celebration, I decided, with some trepidation, on the latter. It was thirty years since I had last had a big birthday party: this one needed to be special. I consoled myself that, old as I am, I am still you ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'On Holidays: A history of getting away in Australia' by Richard White and 'The Cities Book: A journey through the best cities in the world'

August 2006, no. 283 01 August 2006
Despite the rhetoric of globalisation, it is impossible to buy an airline ticket online in the United States with a credit card issued abroad. When I needed a ticket from Boston to Washington last year, and after numerous unsuccessful arguments with airline websites and 1800 numbers, I dropped into the local Harvard travel agency. There was a welcome familiarity in discovering that it was a branch ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'The Sorrows of Empire' by Chalmers Johnson

May 2004, no. 261 01 May 2004
Chalmers Johnson, who began his career in the US Navy and became a consultant to the CIA, is one of the most respected American experts on East Asia and international affairs. Over the past few years, he has emerged as a significant academic critic of the Bush administration, and what he sees as a dangerously reckless escalation of US imperialism and militarism. Until a few years ago, only leftis ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'The Longest Decade' by George Megalogenis

July–August 2008, no. 303 01 July 2008
In a recent column in the Australian, George Megalogenis looked back to Arthur Fadden’s budget of 1952 as a possible comparison with the current financial situation. Few political scientists, let alone journalists, display this sort of historical memory. In 2006, Megalogenis published The Longest Decade, an account of the combined years of Paul Keating and Howard, based upon extensive interviews ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'The Life and Death of Democracy' by John Keane

November 2009, no. 316 01 November 2009
How does one review a serious academic study of 950 pages that covers two thousand years of political history? In this case I shall be upfront and declare that I am only reviewing part of Keane’s thesis, and will leave it to historians to discuss the remainder of his book. If I concentrate on the last 300 pages, this is because they contain more than enough material for even the keenest reader, ... (read more)

Dennis Altman on the ALP and Israel

August 2023, no. 456 24 July 2023
Pressure is mounting on the Albanese government to recognise Palestine as a state. Following a resolution moved by Penny Wong, this became ALP party policy in 2021, and it will almost certainly be reaffirmed at this year’s party conference in August. Former Foreign Minister Gareth Evans has written a powerful defence of the policy, which has been assailed, predictably, by the Israel lobby. Supp ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews 'Gender and Power' by R.W. Connell

June 1988, no. 101 01 June 1988
A founding figure in the Sociology Department at Flinders and now Professor at Macquarie, Bob Connell is almost certainly the most significant figure in sociology in Australia. If sociology has traditionally been a poor relation in our older universities to both politics and anthropology, its current claims to influence owe a considerable amount to the directions in which Connell has pushed it. F ... (read more)

Dennis Altman reviews three new books on the teal independents

January-February 2023, no. 450 26 December 2022
One of the by-products of every election is the instant analysis, often in the form of small books that read like extended newspaper articles. The success of the teals at the 2022 federal election has already produced extensive speculation about whether this signals a sea change in Australian politics. In their new books, both Margot Saville (The Teal Revolution: Inside the movement changing Au ... (read more)
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