Society

Carolyn D'Cruz reviews 'What is Veiling?' by Sahar Amer

Carolyn D'Cruz
17 December 2014

As a child growing up Catholic in the late 1960s, I wore a black lacy veil over my hair to church every Sunday. After losing my religion sometime in my mid-teens, I had forgotten about this veil wearing until I found myself arguing with far too many people about the ‘burqa ban’. The general vitriol, together with the presumptions many people hold about Muslim wo ... More

Jessica Au reviews 'The Wife Drought' by Annabel Crabb

Jessica Au
15 December 2014

Why is it that women with supportive partners are still thought of as lucky, as if they have won a lottery? In the winter of 2012, Annabel Crabb ran into Tanya Plibersek, who had raised three children over the course of a successful parliamentary career with the help of her husband, a senior state bureaucrat. When Crabb commented on how fortunate they were to have h ... More

Phillip Deery reviews 'The Spy Catchers' by David Horner

Phillip Deery
21 November 2014

In the interests of national security, my luggage was recently searched at Los Angeles airport. The culprit: Spy Catchers. The uncorrected proof copy was so bulky that it triggered an alert. I declined to tell the Customs and Border Protection officer (in no mood for irony) that one chapter in the offending item was entitled ‘Keeping out Undesirables’. Da ... More

David Donaldson reviews 'Last Bets'

David Donaldson
25 September 2014

Last Bets examines the case of Anthony Dunning, a forty-year-old man who died four days after being pinned to the floor face-down by bouncers at Melbourne’s Crown casino in July 2011. The incident was reported to police not by Crown but by Dunning’s friends two days later, while the man lay in intensive care. A spokesperson for the police said that Crown ... More

Anthony Elliott reviews 'The Life of I'

Anthony Elliott
25 August 2014

It is now approaching eighty-five years since Freud published his seminal book, Civilization and Its Discontents (1930). A foundational work of psychoanalytic cultural criticism, Freud’s focus was repression and its cultural consequences. He argued that sexual repression, and its associated guilt, had become the fundamental problem of modern societies. Freu ... More

Felicity Plunkett reviews Helen Garner's new book

Felicity Plunkett
25 August 2014

Felicity Plunkett reviews Helen Garner's new book about the Farquharson case and discusses the complex effect love has on human motivation.

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Joel Deane reviews 'Jacks and Jokers'

Joel Deane
22 July 2014

Matthew Condon is fast becoming the George R.R. Martin of Australian true crime. Like the Game of Thrones author, Condon is part-way through the delivery of a saga of epic proportions. However, whereas some fantasy fiction fans doubt that Martin will ever conclude his A Song of Ice and Fire series, everyone knows how the story of corruption in Joh Bjel ... More

Putin and the kleptocrats

Nicholas Hordern
22 July 2014

Nick Hordern – long-time journalist and political staffer – reviews two books on Russia’s controversial leader, Vladimir Putin.

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Piketty-land

Mark Triffitt
21 July 2014
Mark Triffitt reviews Thomas Piketty’s influential Capital in the Twenty-First Century. Our reviewer will take part in an ABR/University of Melbourne public forum on Piketty on 19 August. More

The missing Somali on the dance floor

Ray Cassin
27 May 2014

Sometimes the simplest of mistakes reveals far more of our preconceptions about human acts and motives, and about the complex relationships that make a human society, than we could have imagined. Such was the case with what journalist and lawyer Julie Szego dubs the ‘tainted trial’ of Farah Jama, a young Somali man who spent eighteen months in prison for a rape ... More

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