Non Fiction

Given the deluge of cookery books and unrelenting television programs, it is hard to imagine a time when there wasn’t a single Australian cookery book. This year marks the sesquicentenary of the first: The English and Australian Cookery Book, a volume published anonymously in London, and compiled by ‘An Australian Aristologist’, Edward Abbott. Abbott (1 ...

Luke Horton reviews 'Granta 129: Fate' edited by Sigrid Rausing

Luke Horton
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In 2013, publisher Sigrid Rausing significantly reduced Granta magazine’s staff, and long-time editor John Freeman resigned. At this news, various high-profile contributors, including Peter Carey, expressed their concern for the future of the magazine. But if we can judge solely on the quality of this edition, the new Rausing-edited Granta has lost n ...

Nick Haslam reviews 'Mind Change' by Susan Greenfield

Nick Haslam
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Over at the academy, the lecture is not what it used to be. Colourful slides and short videos accompany the spoken word, and this audio-visual feast can be ordered take-away, lecture recordings instantly downloadable from the university’s ‘learning management system’. Students sit, laptops open, alternating their gaze between the lectern and the web. Many stay ...

Peter Acton reviews 'The Invention of News' by Andrew Pettegree

Peter Acton
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

When St Paul’s burned down in 1561, no one was in any doubt that it was the work of God. The debate – and it was a furious one in the press of the time – concerned what this said about His views on the abolition of the mass. Contemporary press reports of the Battle of Lepanto, the St Bartholomew’s Day Massacre, and the Spanish Armada show how reporting of ev ...

Emily Howie reviews 'The Seasons of Trouble' by Rohini Mohan

Emily Howie
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

In May 2009, Sri Lanka’s three-decade-long civil war came to an end with the government’s defeat of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (known as the Tamil Tigers). The long conflict had brought a range of horrific abuses: deliberate shelling of civilian areas; suicide bombing of civilian targets; enforced disappearances; rape; forced conscription, i ...

Claudia Hyles reviews 'The Island of Singing Fish' by Tina Faulk

Claudia Hyles
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Two government acts shaped Tina Faulk’s life: Ceylon’s 1956 Official Language Policy Act, known as the Sinhala Only Act, and Australia’s Immigration Restriction Act of 1901, better known as the White Australia policy. The first virtually disenfranchised not only Faulk’s Burgher community, but also Sinhalese and Tamil middle-class élites, whose primary langu ...

David Harper reviews 'Murray Gleeson' by Michael Pelly

David Harper
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Although a few can pull it off, most judges have the good sense not to attempt an autobiography. Judges’ personalities are not usually of such outstanding interest, andtheir lives generally do not so engage with the world, as to generate the stuff from which autobiographies worth publishing are made. The reserve which thejudicial experience inculcates, and the gen ...

The white explorers who first penetrated the interior of this continent were exceptional men. White Australians of the time considered them heroes, performing an essential role in identifying opportunities for exploitation, settlement, and commerce. Mostly, the explorers were heroic – determined, tough, single-minded, and stoic in the face of enormous hardship. Th ...

Ben Brooker reviews 'The Impulse Society' by Paul Roberts

Ben Brooker
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Paul Roberts’s The Impulse Society is the latest entry in a now familiar subtype of polemic: that of the society in decline, the symptoms of which run the gamut of Western post-industrialist ills from childhood obesity to the meltdown of global economic markets, and the syndrome of which is, at root, advanced capitalism. The lineage can be traced back throu ...

Carolyn D'Cruz reviews 'What is Veiling?' by Sahar Amer

Carolyn D'Cruz
Wednesday, 17 December 2014

As a child growing up Catholic in the late 1960s, I wore a black lacy veil over my hair to church every Sunday. After losing my religion sometime in my mid-teens, I had forgotten about this veil wearing until I found myself arguing with far too many people about the ‘burqa ban’. The general vitriol, together with the presumptions many people hold about Muslim wo ...

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