History

Miriam Cosic reviews the biography of 'Wilhelm II'

Miriam Cosic
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Wilhelm II, German Kaiser and King of Prussia, may be a shadowy figure for Australian readers, better known as the butt of funny-scary caricatures in British World War I propaganda or of black humour in popular soldiers’ songs, than as a political player in his own right. He remains enigmatic even for scholars. Some hand him the burden of responsibility for World ...

Bernard Whimpress reviews 'The Commonwealth Games'

Bernard Whimpress
Tuesday, 22 July 2014

The Commonwealth Games, like the Commonwealth of Nations, often seem irrelevant. I intended to declare my bias in this review when I found author Brian Oliver saying the same thing on the first page of his introduction. But, as the author points out, the Games have survived the political, cultural, and sporting odds for more than eighty years and have a rich sportin ...

The abiding impact of W.E.B. Du Bois

Luke Horton
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois (1868–1963) forged one of the most remarkable careers of his generation. Starting in the 1890s, often considered the nadir of race relations in the United States, he became the first black man to hold a Harvard bachelor’s degree; emerged as Booker T. Washington’s most eloquent opponent on the issue of segregation; published pio ...

Ian Dickson revisits the Chelsea Hotel

Ian Dickson
Wednesday, 28 May 2014

In the heyday of Manhattan hotels, the Chelsea Hotel had its own special niche. The Pierre exuded wealth and exclusivity, the Plaza a sort of bourgeois glamour as the place where the bridge and tunnel crowd would throw caution to the wind and rent a corner suite for big occasions, and the Algonquin, with its round table and Hamlet the cat, radiated intellectual chic ...

Sheila Fitzpatrick on history vs memoir

Sheila Fitzpatrick
Tuesday, 27 May 2014

In Iris Murdoch’s novel, The Sandcastle (1957), a young artist called Rain Carter is commissioned to paint a retired schoolmaster, Demoyte, an eccentric with an offbeat sense of humour. Instead of his usual attire – a shabby red velvet jacket with tobacco stains and bow tie – Demoyte turns up ...

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'Australia’s tartan army' by Fiona Gruber

Fiona Gruber
Thursday, 15 May 2014

I have been looking at the world through tartan frames recently, thanks to the current exhibition ‘For Auld Lang Syne: Images of Scottish Australia from First Fleet to Federation’ and its accompanying catalogue. Actually, to call it a catalogue doesn’t do it justice; its 330 pages ransack dozens of different angles of the Caledonian experience, with essays by ...

Tasmania is a small place with a rich historiography. Two themes in particular have intrigued historians and novelists since the nineteenth century and have appealed to film-makers and artists in more recent times. The fate of the Aborigines and the convict system which dominated society from 1803 to 1853 ...

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Michael Kirby on Ghandi

Thomas Weber
Thursday, 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 ...

Mark Blyth on the Dangers of Austerity

Adrian Walsh
Tuesday, 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
Wednesday, 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 ...