History

Michael Kirby on Ghandi

Thomas Weber
27 March 2014

Two years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld published a partial biography of Mahatma Gandhi (Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle with India, 2011), which outraged public opinion in India and served as a vehicle for the self-promotion of leading politicians who railed against the supposed contents. Although the book was not yet ... More

Mark Blyth on the Dangers of Austerity

Adrian Walsh
25 March 2014

Should state spending on government be more restricted, or is it private financial institutions that should pay? Adrian Walsh writes about fresh controversies over international austerity programs.

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Danielle Clode on unravelling stories of 'The Reef'

Danielle Clode
26 February 2014

I know we should never judge a book by its cover, but Iain McCalman’s ‘passionate history’ of the Great Barrier Reef is a book that truly delivers on the promise of its gloriously sumptuous jacket. Brilliantly coloured in the hues of the reef itself, it is a montage of historical photographs of Indigenous children engrossed in spearfishing above brightly paint ... More

nick Horrdern on 'The Reporter and the Warlords'

Nicholas Hordern
19 January 2014

Celebrity knows no borders, so the Australian visitor to Xi’an, capital of China’s north-western province of Shaanxi, shouldn’t be too surprised to come across images of compatriots like Hugh ‘Wolverine’ Jackman and Nicole ‘Face of Chanel’ Kidman adorning the city’s retail centre. But if they look around in Xi’an’s museums and historical di ... More

Stuart Macintyre visits 'Fractured Times'

Stuart Macintyre
17 January 2014

As he approached his fiftieth birthday, Eric Hobsbawm finally won recognition. His Primitive Rebels (1959) was an innovative study of millenarian rural movements. In 1962 he published The Age of Revolution, the first of four books that encompassed the modern era with unrivalled powers of synthesis, and his volume on Labouring Men (1964) ga ... More

Geoffrey Blainey on 'A Short History of the Twentieth Century'

Geoffrey Blainey
17 January 2014

The author of this impressive book had his ninetieth birthday this January. Born to a Jewish mother and Catholic father, he was fortunate to escape death in his native Hungary in World War II and to live another existence in the United States as an intellectual and historian throughout the Cold War. The label he sometimes claims is ‘reactionary’, but this ... More

Christopher Allen on Antiquity and the Renaissance

Christopher Allen
28 November 2013

When the intellectuals, writers, and artists of the Renaissance sought a theoretical basis for the new styles they were developing – at a time when the new meant all’antica and the term modern was still coloured by associations with the Middle Ages – they found that ancient sources were relatively abundant in some areas and scarce or non-ex ... More

Paul Pickering on 'The Writing Culture of Ordinary People in Europe, c.1860–1920'

Paul Pickering
28 November 2013

‘If in this I have been tedious,’ admitted William Cowper in a letter published in 1750, ‘it may be some excuse, I had not time to make it shorter.’ In The Writing Culture of Ordinary People in Europe, c.1860–1920, Martyn Lyons has accomplished what Cowper could not. This is a short book but withal it successfully tackles an expansive agenda. ... More

Jay Daniel Thompson on 'The Baby Farmers'

Jay Daniel Thompson
28 November 2013

In The Baby Farmers, legal scholar Annie Cossins revisits a bizarre episode in Australian criminal history. Her text focuses on a pair of baby killers who operated in Sydney during the nineteenth century. In October 1892, Sarah and John Makin were arrested after a baby’s corpse was found buried on their farm. An investigation revealed the ... More

Robert Dare reviews 'Unfinished Empire'

Robert Dare
28 November 2013

The main title of John Darwin’s new book is simple but mischievous. Its primary purpose is to announce that he sees empire as an activity rather than a thing. People, millions of them, made it, and remade it constantly, over long stretches of time; it was always in progress, always being finished. They built empire from a variety of motives, some commercial, ... More

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