As contemporary author fan bases go, Margaret Atwood’s must be among the broadest. She is read at crèches, on university campuses, and in nursing homes. Feminists, birders, and would-be writers jostle to see her perform at literary festivals. Yet despite an Arthur C. Clarke Award and, in her own words ...... (read more)
New Zealand coins often sneak into Australian purses. Both currencies bear the queen’s, and some coins have common colonial symbols on the front (Cook’s Endeavour on the Kiwi fifty cent, for example), but these coins only work by stealth. They have value if they can pass as Australian. Recognised for what they are – foreign objects – their currency evaporates ...... (read more)
On 7 November, Paul Keating appeared on ABC TV’s 7.30 to promote his new book of speeches, After Words. Keating’s response to Leigh Sales’s first question about political leadership was instructive:... (read more)
Recognising biography as ‘one of the new terrors of death’, the eighteenth-century wit John Arbuthnot made sure his life would be sparsely documented. Manning Clark, preoccupied with his inevitable extinction, took the opposite tack. He massively archived all his thoughts and doings as a strategy ...... (read more)
This book is long overdue. It is eighty years since affable Joseph Lyons, often depicted by cartoonists as a koala, was elected as Australia’s tenth prime minister. He would be re-elected twice before dying in office in April 1939. During his seven years as prime minister, Lyons had to grapple with the Depression ...... (read more)
For some sixty years Donald Friend kept a diary, making his final entry just days before his death in 1989 at the age of seventy-four. The National Library of Australia published them in four massive volumes between 2001 and 2006. They were intractable. You needed an axe to cut through the stream of consciousness which flowed from an uncensoring pen ...... (read more)
Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'Australian Historical Studies, Volume 41, Issue 2' by Richard Broome and Dianne Kirkby
Australian Historical Studies (AHS), which can be traced back to the 1940s, has developed into one of Australia’s leading social science journals. The standard of scholarship is consistently high, and the honour of having one’s article accepted in such an established and selective publication is keenly sought ...... (read more)
On the day that I finished reading Into the Woods, I opened the newspaper to a report that Gunns was withdrawing from native forest logging to base its future business entirely on plantation-grown timber. Given that Gunns controls almost eighty-five per cent of the wood products traded in Tasmania, this has raised hopes of an end to the decades-old forest w ...
Robert Phiddian reviews 'Bad News: Murdoch’s Australian and the Shaping of the Nation' by Robert Manne
Were I Editor in Chief of The Australian for a day, the first thing I would do is can the ‘Cut and Paste’ section on the Letters page. Its schoolyard bullying of the fools and knaves idiotic enough to oppose the paper’s line – usual suspects include Fairfax journalists, the ABC, Greens politicians, Tim Flannery, and Robert Manne – lies at the hear ...
Emma Kowal reviews 'A Different Inequality: The politics of debate about remote Aboriginal Australia' by Diane Austin-Broos
Many Australians are hungry for answers to Indigenous disadvantage. In recent years, anthropologists have been among those who have proposed solutions. This latest offering is from Diane Austin-Broos, professor emerita at the University of Sydney and long-time ethnographer of the ...... (read more)