Non Fiction

Cameron Muir: Broken Country

Cameron Muir
Monday, 15 December 2014

Once, when it was the beginning of the dry but no one could have known it yet, Dad drove us west – out past ‘Jesus Saves’ signs nailed to box trees, past unmarked massacre sites and slumping woolsheds, past meatworks and red-bricked citrus factories with smashed windows, and past one-servo towns with faded ads for soft drinks no one makes anymore – until we ...

‘Lending printed eloquence to a poem’ comes from ‘Alas’, Chris Wallace-Crabbe’s elegiac tribute to Seamus Heaney. There is eloquence aplenty in this fine collection of more than a hundred and twenty poems edited by poet Geoff Page, someone who understands that eloquence speaks in many tones and in various formal structures. This variety is generously repre ...

Geoffrey Blainey reviews 'Dick Hamer' by Tim Colebatch

Geoffrey Blainey
Monday, 15 December 2014

Rupert (‘Dick’) Hamer proved to be one of Australia’s most innovative premiers. One sign of his unusual prestige is that this history of his life and times has perhaps been publicly praised more by Labor leaders than by his own Liberal colleagues.

Hamer’s family background was in the church, law, business, and politics. His paternal grandfather was t ...

Jessica Au reviews 'The Wife Drought' by Annabel Crabb

Jessica Au
Monday, 15 December 2014

Why is it that women with supportive partners are still thought of as lucky, as if they have won a lottery? In the winter of 2012, Annabel Crabb ran into Tanya Plibersek, who had raised three children over the course of a successful parliamentary career with the help of her husband, a senior state bureaucrat. When Crabb commented on how fortunate they were to have h ...

Forget the cliché about a week being a long time in politics. Two decades in this super-speed, globalised age is more than enough time, it seems, for even the ‘best’ political system to go pear-shaped.

A growing number of books in recent times have focused on the current travails of Western-style liberal democracy. Its litany of dysfunctions includes co ...

Geordie Williamson explores the personal and wondrous world of critic and poet Clive James in his Notebook 2006–2014.

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Mary Eagle reviews 'Strange Country' by Patrick McCaughey

Mary Eagle
Monday, 15 December 2014

The cover assembles the book’s title and author’s name (writ very large) with a photograph of him, in an art gallery, before a wide yellow landscape by Fred Williams. Turning to the viewer, Patrick McCaughey is about to launch into a story that will satisfy the curiosity teased by the name of the book, Strange Country: Why Australian Painting Matters.

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There was something of the alchemist in Albert Namatjira. Using the most liquescent of media, he created impressions of the driest terrain. Painting in watercolour involves the fluid dispersal of pigment. Yet in Namatjira we find colours distilled in such a way that each landscape glows with a quiet intensity. This evocation of light reveals the influence of Rex Bat ...

Colin Golvan reviews 'Excursions in the Law' by Peter Heerey

Colin Golvan
Wednesday, 26 November 2014

What’s on a judge’s mind? Litigants and advocates would love to know. Former judge Peter Heerey answers that question in his latest book, a compendium of writing over many years, covering a vast array of topics and in myriad forms.

Heerey displays his abiding affection for his Tasmanian roots with an essay on the Tasmanian member of the group of authors ...

Geoffrey Lehmann reviews 'Exhibits of the Sun' by Stephen Edgar

Geoffrey Lehmann
Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Exhibits of the Sun is Stephen Edgar’s tenth collection of poems. Born in 1951, he is now ripe for a major Collected Poems. With careful pruning of some lesser pieces, such a book will display the full range of his work, which marries virtuosic technique with powerful emotion and intellect.

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