Politics

Joel Deane reviews 'Machine Rules' by Stephen Loosley

Joel Deane
26 February 2016

Mark Latham – former columnist for the Australian Financial Review, former 'special correspondent' for Sixty Minutes, former federal leader of the Australian Labor Party – wasn't the only politician to keep a diary. Writing in The Latham Diaries (2005) – a book most politicians and apparatchiks approach via the index – Latham revea ... More

Glyn Davis reviews 'Think Again' by Stanley Fish

Glyn Davis
24 February 2016

Should American academics boycott contact with Israeli universities in protest against events in Palestine? The issue has been fiercely debated at many American colleges, argued at meetings of the American Association of University Professors, dilated in the broader media. Those supporting a boycott, writes Stanley Fish in Think Again, rely on an expanded d ... More

Frank Bongiorno reviews 'Battleground' by Wayne Errington and Peter van Onselen

Frank Bongiorno
23 February 2016

The Abbott era already seems a far-off time of jihad on the ABC and the Human Rights Commission, death cults, three-word slogans, celebratory cigars, royal knighthoods, raw onions, and helicopter jaunts. To be reminded of it is to relive the 'tawdry nightmare – a male buddy film of singular fatuousness', to borrow Pankaj Mishra's dismissal of the West's post-Cold ... More

David Rolph reviews 'Closet Queens' by Michael Bloch

David Rolph
23 December 2015

With marriage equality becoming the norm in Western countries (though, signally, not in Australia), it may be tempting to forget how recent and rapid and seemingly decisive changes in the legal treatment of, and social attitudes towards, homosexuality have been. The death of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu in late August 2015 marked the passing of the last living public fi ... More

Finian Cullity reviews 'Restless Continent' by Michael Wesley

Finian Cullity
18 December 2015

Australia does not have a great tradition of writers producing books on international affairs for a general audience. Along with others like Hugh White, Michael Wesley – a former head of the Lowy Institute now based at the Australian National University – is helping to correct this.

His previous work, More

Varun Ghosh reviews 'Born to Rule' by Paddy Manning

Varun Ghosh
25 November 2015

Since deposing Tony Abbott on 14 September 2015, Malcolm Turnbull has dominated Australian politics like a colossus. Turnbull's triumph, though long expected, happened quickly. The sense of national relief that followed was profound. The preceding eight years of Australian politics – scarcely the apotheosis of democratic governance – had produced intense public ... More

Nick Hordern reviews 'Frontline Ukraine' by Richard Sakwa

Nicholas Hordern
28 October 2015

It is all Vladimir Putin's fault. Two years after the crisis in Ukraine erupted, the prevailing view in Europe, the United States, and Australia remains that responsibility for the conflict there – including the shooting down of flight MH17 – lies with Russia's president. This, the argument goes, is all part of Putin's plan to restore Russia's dominance of its r ... More

Ben Huf reviews 'Republicanism and Responsible Government' by Benjamin T. Jones

Ben Huf
28 October 2015

Studies in the early history of Australian democracy have undergone a remarkable regeneration over the past decade. Since New South Wales's sesquicentenary of responsible government in 2006, books by Peter Cochrane and Terry Irving, and essays by Paul Pickering, Andrew Messner, and Sean Scalmer, have overhauled prevailing interpretations of the 1840s and 1850s, whic ... More

Mark Edele reviews 'Stalin, Volume I' by Stephen Kotkin and 'Stalin' by Oleg V. Khlevniuk

Mark Edele
26 October 2015

How dissimilar two books on the same topic can be: one expansive and apparently unconstrained by word limits, the other constrained and economical; one following a simple chronological narrative, the other an admirable adaptation of literary techniques of multi-layered story telling. Both are political books, but the politics are as different as the personalities of ... More

Mark Triffitt reviews 'Inequality' by Anthony B. Atkinson

Mark Triffitt
29 September 2015

If free markets promote themselves as the most effective and efficient way of creating and sharing prosperity, then growing inequality has emerged as one of their deepest failings in the early part of this century. After all, how ‘effective’ is having ninety-nine per cent of the world’s wealth go to less than one per cent of its population? Is it ‘effi ... More

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