'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 ...

nick Horrdern on 'The Reporter and the Warlords'

Nicholas Hordern
Sunday, 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 ...

Stuart Macintyre visits 'Fractured Times'

Stuart Macintyre
Friday, 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 ...

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

Geoffrey Blainey
Friday, 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 ...

Christopher Allen on Antiquity and the Renaissance

Christopher Allen
Thursday, 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 ...

‘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. ...