History

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. ...

Jay Daniel Thompson on 'The Baby Farmers'

Jay Daniel Thompson
Thursday, 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 ...

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 ...

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Jo Scanlan reviews 'The Boy Colonel' by Will Davies

Jo Scanlan
Monday, 30 September 2013

So many Australian scholars and writers stand tall alongside C.E.W. Bean that you have to wonder: is there much more that can be said about World War I? Well, no. And yes. Almost one hundred years on, writers such as battlefield historian Will Davies continue to seek illumination through unfamiliar characters and fresh angles. Such is his intention in his latest book, The Boy Colonel ...

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David Cannadine is a distinguished transatlantic historian, the author of books on modern Britain and its empire, the biographer of G.M. Trevelyan and Andrew Mellon, and he recently wrote a perceptive account of the persistent anxiety over school history. An iconoclastic thinker and urbane stylist ...

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Michael Fullilove, head of the Lowy Institute, has written about President Roosevelt and the men who helped him to guide the US so reluctantly into World War II. Dennis Altman reviews this model of academic research.

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