Biography and Memoirs

Craig Sherborne reviews 'Always Unreliable: The memoirs' by Clive James

Craig Sherborne
10 July 2019

Clive James is a fussy A-grade mechanic of the English language, always on the lookout for grammatical misfires or sloppiness of ph More

Chris Wallace-Crabbe reviews 'Arabesques: A tale of double lives' by Robert Dessaix

Chris Wallace-Crabbe
10 July 2019

Who is, or rather who was, André Gide? I ask this because a distinguished editor More

Alice Whitmore reviews Requiem with Yellow Butterflies by James Halford

Alice Whitmore
17 June 2019

Requiem with Yellow Butterflies begins, aptly, with a death. Sitting at his office in Brisbane, the author receives news that Gabriel García Márquez has died at his home in Mexi More

Bridget Griffen-Foley reviews 'The Murdoch Archipelago' by Bruce Page

Bridget Griffen-Foley
07 June 2019

Rupert Murdoch certainly attracts a good class of biographer. There was George Munster, who contributed so much to Australian politics and culture by helping to establish and edit Nati More

Neal Blewett reviews 'Losing It' by Annabel Crabb, 'Loner: Inside a Labor tragedy' by Bernard Lagan, and 'The Latham Diaries' by Mark Latham

Neal Blewett
07 June 2019

Although you might not guess it from media comment, The Latham Diaries (MUP, $39.95 hb, 429 pp, 0522852157) is the most important book yet published on Labor’s wilderness y More

David McCooey reviews 'The Twelfth of Never: A memoir' by Louis Nowra

David McCooey
24 May 2019

Louis Nowra was born in 1950 and is – as he presents himself in this memoir – that very mid­-century thing, an outsider. An outsider in terms of class, mental constitution, and sex More

Michael McGirr reviews King of the Air: The turbulent life of Charles Kingsford Smith by Ann Blainey

Michael McGirr
23 May 2019

People spent a lot of time looking for the pioneering aviator Charles Kingsford Smith. When he disappeared for the final time in 1935 just south of Myanmar, then known as Burma, he was jus More

Gemma Betros reviews The Existential Englishman: Paris among the artists by Michael Peppiatt

Gemma Betros
22 April 2019

I wanted to like this memoir very much, not least because the inside of the book jacket promises, with some originality, a ‘not-uncritical love letter to Paris’. People (myself included) have a tendency to wax rha More

Peter McPhee reviews Diderot and the Art of Thinking Freely by Andrew S. Curran

Peter McPhee
22 April 2019

Andrew S. Curran recounts the only meeting between the two great philosophes Denis Diderot and Voltaire early in 1778 when Diderot, aged sixty-five, insulted Voltaire, then eighty More

Jim Davidson reviews An Unconventional Wife: The life of Julia Sorell Arnold by Mary Hoban

Jim Davidson
22 April 2019

The name of Julia Sorell – the granddaughter of an early governor – never quite died in Tasmania. A faint memory survived of a high-spirited young woman who was the belle of Hobart, a woman who broke hearts and en More

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