Non Fiction

Neal Blewett reviews 'My Story' by Julia Gillard

Neal Blewett
Friday, 21 November 2014

Much like her government, Julia Gillard’s memoir resembles the proverbial curate’s egg. Where her passions are involved, as with education (‘Our Children’) or the fair work laws, we are provided with a compelling policy read. Where they are not, as in large slabs of foreign policy, the insightful competes with the pedestrian, enlivened admittedly with her pe ...

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Lesbian for a Year' by Brooke Hemphill

Crusader Hillis
Friday, 31 October 2014

Brooke Hemphill knows hers was not meant to be an ordinary existence, yet by her early twenties she is engaged and planning the perfect wedding – with the wrong guy. She breaks it off and moves in with a married man. He, too, is wrong for her. She works on an island resort and falls for another, but he takes off for Europe. She travels to the United States and wor ...

Not many substantial private collections of art and decorative arts in Australia have remained intact from the nineteenth century. John Twycross (1819–89) was one of Melbourne’s early art collectors, and his collection has proved to be an exception. Twycross, lured there by the gold rush, made his money as a merchant in Melbourne in the middle of the nineteenth ...

Bruce Moore reviews 'Authorisms' by Paul Dickson

Bruce Moore
Friday, 31 October 2014

American Paul Dickson has written many books on aspects of language, including Words from the White House (2013). He also claims to have invented some fifty words, although he admits that only two of these have any real chance of becoming ‘household words’: word word ‘a word that is repeated to distinguish it ...

Robyn Williams reviews 'Smashing Physics' by Jon Butterworth

Robyn Williams
Friday, 31 October 2014

I must let you into a secret. I have three different ways of reading books: lightning fast, with serene attention; and, as with Smashing Physics, postmodern.

The fast mode is forced by unavoidable professional requirements. This week, for example, I received a (thankfully) slim volume just hours before having to record a satellite interview wit ...

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'Red Apple' by Phillip Deery

Sheila Fitzpatrick
Friday, 31 October 2014

This book is about a moral panic resulting in the deployment of huge police and bureaucratic resources to ruin the lives of some unlucky individuals who were, or seemed to be, Communist Party members or sympathisers. None of Deery’s cases seems to have been doing anything that posed an actual threat to the US government or population; that, at least, is how it loo ...

A remarkable feature of the concept of political leadership is its apparently infinite elasticity: it stretches over presidents and prime ministers, dictators and popes, revolutionaries and reformers. Take the concept beyond politics, and its reach effortlessly expands to include business executives, platoon commanders, primary school principals, the captain of the ...

Nick Hordern reviews 'The New Emperors' by Kerry Brown

Nicholas Hordern
Friday, 31 October 2014

For countries, and none so important to Australia, have a political system as opaque as that of China. This is deliberate; since the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution, the Communist Party of China (CPC) has striven to make turnovers in its leadership as bland as possible. But the elevation of the country’s current ‘Fifth Generation’ Leadership was actually fu ...

Drought - a photographic essay by Alison Pouliot

Alison Pouliot
Thursday, 30 October 2014

As a freshwater ecologist, Alison Pouliot endeavours to understand the interplay of the processes that sculpt the Australian environment.

As an environmental photographer, she aspires to capture the intricacies and obscurities of these processes.

The insidious creeping nature of drought can sometimes lend itself more to images than words. Here are a ...

Peter Menkhorst reviews 'Where Song Began' by Tim Low

Peter Menkhorst
Thursday, 30 October 2014

Australia’s birds stand out from the global avian pack in many ways – ecologically, behaviourally, because some ancient lineages survive here, and because many species are endemic. The ancestors of more than half of the planet’s ten thousand bird species (the songbirds) evolved right here (eastern Gondwana) before spreading across the world. Indeed, Tim Low cl ...

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