Biography and Memoirs

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

Astrid Edwards reviews Diving into Glass: A memoir by Caro Llewellyn

Astrid Edwards
26 March 2019

Memoirs of illness are tricky. The raw material is often compelling: dramatic symptoms, embarrassing public moments, and unavoidable relationship pressures. The challenge is to share that More

Lewis Rosenberg reviews Walter Kaufmann: Philosopher, humanist, heretic by Stanley Corngold

Lewis Rosenberg
25 March 2019

My favourite image from Stanley Corngold’s Walter Kaufmann: Philosopher, humanist, heretic is set in Berlin as World War II concludes. Young Walter Kaufmann, a German Jew forced More

Jarrod Hore reviews Kindred: A Cradle Mountain love story by Kate Legge

Jarrod Hore
25 March 2019

Early on in Kindred: A Cradle Mountain love story, the journalist and walker Kate Legge dwells on an ‘extraordinary coincidence’ that took place over Christmas in 1903. While More

Jacqueline Kent reviews The Blackburns: Private lives, public ambition by Carolyn Rasmussen

Jacqueline Kent
25 March 2019

If you were young and energetic and a believer in a range of progressive causes, Melbourne in the first three decades of the twentieth century was an exciting place. It was even better if More

Neal Blewett reviews 'Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: A portrait of Paul Keating PM' by Don Watson

Neal Blewett
05 March 2019

What is it about Paul Keating that so fascinated his retainers? Six years ago, John Edwards wrote a mass More

Gemma Betros reviews The Years by Annie Ernaux, translated by Alison L. Strayer

Gemma Betros
22 February 2019

The word indicible appears frequently in the work of French author Annie Ernaux. In English, it means ‘inexpressible’ or ‘unspeakable’. Yet saying the unsayable – or rat More

Rémy Davison reviews A Certain Idea of France: The life of Charles de Gaulle by Julian Jackson

Rémy Davison
22 February 2019

There is a scene in Monty Python and the Holy Grail outside a castle, brimming with French men-at-arms, who taunt King Arthur and his knights remorselessly, while the Britons are More

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