Biography

Rachel Fuller reviews 'The Worst Woman in Sydney: The life and crimes of Kate Leigh' by Leigh Straw

Rachel Fuller

The Worst Woman in Sydney is the first biography devoted to the early twentieth-century Sydney underworld matriarch Kate Leigh. Leigh Straw attempts to tease out ...

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Brenda Niall reviews 'Constance Fenimore Woolson: Portrait of a lady novelist' by Anne Boyd Rioux

Brenda Niall

If Constance Fenimore Woolson is remembered today, it is likely to be as a friend of Henry James, and a minor character in his much-chronicled life. Anne Boyd Rioux's ...

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Simon Caterson reviews 'Brett Whiteley: Art, life and the other thing' by Ashleigh Wilson

Simon Caterson

Notwithstanding the fact that he died alone in a hotel room following a heroin overdose at the age of fifty-three, Brett Whiteley led what for an Australian artist ...

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Robin Gerster reviews 'Our Man Elsewhere: In search of Alan Moorehead' by Thornton McCamish

Robin Gerster

You have to admire the professional writer who describes the chore of churning out the daily ration of words as 'like straining shit through a sock', ...

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Peter Heerey reviews 'Tom Hughes QC: A cab on the rank' by Ian Hancock

Peter Heerey

The subtitle of this compellingly readable biography of Thomas Eyre Forrest Hughes AO QC borrows the underlying philosophical metaphor of the independent Bar ...

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Kevin Rabalais reviews 'The Last Love Song: A biography of Joan Didion' by Tracy Daugherty

Kevin Rabalais

For many young writers, Julian Wasser's 1968 Time magazine photograph of Joan Didion posed in front of her yellow Corvette remains the epitome of cool ...

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Ian Donaldson reviews 'Hegel's Owl: The life of Bernard Smith' by Sheridan Palmer

Ian Donaldson

Hoping to travel to Vienna in the summer of 1950 through a part of Austria then under Soviet control, Bernard Smith sought an interview in Prague with an officer ...

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Dina Ross reviews 'The Amazing Mrs. Livesey' by Freda Marnie Nicholl

Dina Ross

Ethel Livesey was a piece of work. By the time she stood trial in 1946, she had already served several terms in prison. The serial fraudster had accumulated more than ...

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Michael McGirr reviews 'The Fighter' by Arnold Zable

Michael McGirr

Arnold Zable may be unafraid of pain, but he is no masochist. Masochism wants to control pain: Zable is much more of a liberator. Since the publication of his first book ...

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Suzanne Falkiner reviews 'Outback Penguin: Richard Lane's Barwell diaries' edited by Elizabeth Lane et al.

Suzanne Falkiner

On 7 September 1922, seventeen-year-old Richard Lane left England on a six-week voyage to Australia, not to set foot in his home country again for three and a half years. For much of the intervening time he would work as a government-funded 'Barwell Boy', or indentured farm labourer, on small rural holdings outside Adelaide and in western New South Wales.

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