Non Fiction

Gillian Dooley reviews 'In So Many Words'

Gillian Dooley
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 ...

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 ...

In his brief preface to Volume 1 of the Australian Dictionary of Biography 17881850 A–H (1966), Douglas Pike describes the ‘all-Australian, Commonwealth-wide … consultation and co-operation’ underpinning the volume and notes that the breadth and complexity of its intellectual network meant the Dictionary could ‘truly be ...

Dreaming Too Loud

Frank Bongiorno
16 January 2014

London-based silk Geoffrey Robertson QC is one of Australia’s most celebrated and eloquent commentators. In his new book, he addresses subjects such as injustice to Aborigines, Ned Kelly, and his Australian heroes.

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White Beech

John Thompson
16 January 2014

John Thompson examines Germaine Greer’s sober, meditative, deeply moving account of her efforts to regenerate sixty hectares of degraded rainforest in the Gold Coast hinterland.

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Broken Nation

Marilyn Lake
16 January 2014

Marilyn Lake reviews Joan Beaumont’s magnum opus on Australians in the Great War and lauds it as the book to read amid the tsunami of books on the outbreak of the Great War.

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Notwithstanding occasional media focus on misbehaving students or senior members, the residential colleges and halls dotted around or about most Australian university campuses keep a low profile. Their influence has undoubtedly declined since the early twentieth century, when as many as one quarter of Melbourne’s enrolled undergraduate population, and a much ...

Henry Friendly was a judge of the highest reputation – greater than Learned Hand in Justice Scalia’s opinion. His output was prodigious, his legacy unmatched: of his fifty-one clerks, twenty-one (including the present incumbent) became justices of the Supreme Court of the United States; in that Court’s decisions, only Learned Hand was cited more often th ...

Lyndon Megarrity reviews 'For the True Believers'

Lyndon Megarrity
28 November 2013
‘Well may we say “God Save the Queen”, because nothing will save the Governor-General.’

Gough Whitlam’s famous words during his impromptu speech after the Dismissal in 1975 remain a potent symbol of the excitements and turbulence of the Whitlam era. As Troy Bramston’s collection of ALP speeches sinc ...

Christopher Allen on Antiquity and the Renaissance

Christopher Allen
28 November 2013

When the intellectuals, writers, and artists of the Renaissance sought a theoretical basis for the new styles they were developing – at a time when the new meant all’antica and the term modern was still coloured by associations with the Middle Ages – they found that ancient sources were relatively abundant in some areas and scarce or non-ex ...