Non Fiction

Geoff Page reviews 'From the Trenches'

Geoff Page
Friday, 28 March 2014

Mark Dapin’s anthology, From the Trenches, is a timely but not opportunistic book. At more than 400 pages, it is long enough to suggest the sheer scale of the war and its centrality to European (if not world) history ever since. It samples all the relevant genres (letters, memoir, journalism, fiction, poetry) and offers a multiplicity of viewpoints (senior ranks, subalterns, NCOs, priv ...

2014 Calibre Prize (Winner): Unearthing the Past

Christine Piper
Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Christine Piper is the winner of the 2014 Calibre Prize for an Outstanding Essay, worth $5,000. In this powerful essay, she writes about Japanese biological weapons and wartime experiments on living human beings.

... (read more)

Rachel Robertson reviews 'The Twelfth Raven' by Doris Brett

Rachel Robertson
Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Why does illness create such a marked need for story? Why do we want to read about other people’s illnesses and talk or write about our own? At the most basic level, it is surely because human beings always need stories. Indeed, neuroscientists believe that narrative consciousness is hard-wired into our brains ...

... (read more)

Robin Priors 'The Roar of the Lion'

Robin Prior
Friday, 28 February 2014

In his introduction to this book, Richard Toye makes the startling but, as far as I know, accurate claim that this is the first book to offer a comprehensive analysis of Churchill’s wartime speeches. For a series of orations that now occupy many pages of any dictionary of quotations, The Roar of the Lion fills a surprising gap. Unfortunately, it does not fi ...

Robert O'Neill reviews 'Hanoi's War'

Robert O'Neill
Thursday, 27 February 2014

Although the Vietnam War ended thirty-nine years ago, we have had to wait until now for a full and rigorous scholarly analysis of Hanoi’s policies during that war. Much important material from the war years survived in the archives of the former North Vietnamese ministries, but for a long time it was off limits to Westerners. Gradually, over the past twenty years, ...

Penelope Fitzgerald’s Secret River of Creativity

Brenda Niall
Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Award-winning biographer Brenda Niall welcomes the first biography of Penelope Fitzgerald by superlative British biographer Hermione Lee, and is fascinated by the great novelist’s secret river of creativity.

... (read more)

The Mystery of the Silent Scribes

Gideon Haigh
Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Gideon Haigh reviews a major new study of the failure of investigative journalism during the 2008 GFC. He argues that journalists became invested in the economic boom, to their cost.

... (read more)

David Malouf’s Rapturous Sense of Things

Lisa Gorton
Tuesday, 25 February 2014

David Malouf turns eighty this month, improbably. To mark his birthday, UQP has published a new poetry collection by Malouf. ABR Poetry Editor reviews Earth Hour in this issue.

... (read more)

Gillian Dooley reviews 'In So Many Words'

Gillian Dooley
Sunday, 19 January 2014

I have often thought that a large part of achievement is just fronting up; having an idea and acting on it, however unlikely success might seem. What you need is a resolution (or the disposition) not to be discouraged by failure and to be pleasantly surprised by success. If it doesn’t work, you try something else. You make the most of any opportunity. You sh ...

Geoffrey Blainey on 'A Short History of the Twentieth Century'

Geoffrey Blainey
Friday, 17 January 2014

The author of this impressive book had his ninetieth birthday this January. Born to a Jewish mother and Catholic father, he was fortunate to escape death in his native Hungary in World War II and to live another existence in the United States as an intellectual and historian throughout the Cold War. The label he sometimes claims is ‘reactionary’, but this ...