Non Fiction

Doug Wallen reviews 'Elvis has left the building'

Doug Wallen
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Usually the subject’s death signals the end of a biography, but for Dylan Jones it is the starting point. Three decades after his death in 1977, Elvis Presley has proven even more ubiquitous, and lucrative, than he was in life. When he died – with the official cause listed as heart failure, but a vast cocktail of drugs playing an undeniable role – his manager, ...

How a writer bears witness to his age is necessarily the expression of many things, not least the possibly quite peculiar nature of an author’s life. Literary works often emerge from complex upbringings, from periods of youthful isolation spent reading and writing. More still seem to have been written as a result of the fraught relationships that befall authors, p ...

Nigel Featherstone reviews 'Perspectives'

Nigel Featherstone
Tuesday, 26 August 2014

In her foreword, Emily Maguire says, ‘You need a desperate, hungry energy to tell a story, to write a poem, to scratch at the surface of a life and see what slithers beneath.’ For some, the university campus is the place for this desperation and hunger to find a voice and have a public hearing. For the University of Sydney, the public hearing is in the form of < ...

Nathanael Pree reviews 'Sputnik's Cousin'

Nathanael Pree
Monday, 25 August 2014

Kent MacCarter’s third collection of poems comprises a patchwork of forms and phenomena, in parts influenced by and dedicated to poets of the New York School and the ‘Generation of 1968’. MacCarter’s own cosmopolitan greetings share the offbeat tones and imagery of precursors, including Frank O’Hara and John Forbes. Touches of the former’s dry humour per ...

Albert O. Hirschman (1915–2012) was a development economist and political theorist whose work is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding how economic life figures in the political worlds we inhabit and the ways in which we give meaning to our lives in market-based societies. Perhaps best known for the distinction between ‘exit’ and ‘voice’ ...

Sheila Fitzpatrick reviews 'A Spy among Friends'

Sheila Fitzpatrick
Monday, 25 August 2014

Harold Adrian Russell (Kim) Philby was the Third Man of the notorious Cambridge spy network set up in the 1930s and partially unmasked in the early 1950s, when Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean fled to Moscow. He had been in British intelligence (MI6) since the beginning of the war, but had been working for Soviet intelligence for some years before that. A high-flyer, ...

Cassandra Atherton on 'Westerly, vol. 59, no. 1'

Cassandra Atherton
Monday, 25 August 2014

Voices of the dispossessed appropriate the narratives in the current issue of Westerly. The fiction in this issue is the strongest section, largely due to the originality and diversity of the writing. M.T. O’Byrne’s magic-realist short story, ‘The Day Before Christmas Island’, introduces the voice of the refugee. Reminiscent of Life of Pi (2001 ...

It takes a village to run the world, and Hillary knows how to do it. These are the main lessons from Hillary Clinton’s new memoir, Hard Choices. The book traces the finality of her presidential campaign bid in 2008 and her four years as secretary of state. Her analysis of this period provides insights into ...

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David Donaldson reviews 'Power Failure'

David Donaldson
Monday, 25 August 2014

Speaking about the process of painstakingly researching the ‘terrible mistakes’ made on climate policy by the Rudd and Gillard governments over the six years of their existence, Philip Chubb told an audience at the Wheeler Centre that he ‘almost exhausted [himself] with gloom’. Indeed, this important book, which covers the Icarian trajectory of climat ...

Joel Deane reviews two books on Julia Gillard

Joel Deane
Monday, 25 August 2014

Joel Deane reviews two new titles on Julia Gillard and speculates whether she, like Gough Whitlam before her, has been typecast as martyr.

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