Kate Griffiths reviews 'Against the Grain: A Deep History of the Earliest States' by James C. Scott

Kate Griffiths
22 February 2018

The old narrative goes that first we were hunter–gatherers, then we discovered farming, then agricultural communities ‘progressed’ to states and, eventually, industrial cities. This More

Alex Tighe reviews 'Tinkering: Australians reinvent DIY culture' by Katherine Wilson

Alex Tighe
27 December 2017

What is tinkering? As Katherine Wilson makes clear in Tinkering: Australians reinvent DIY culture, there is an easy answer to that question – but also several complex ones. At t More

Lucas Thompson reviews 'Mirror Sydney' by Vanessa Berry

Lucas Thompson
22 December 2017

Cities are essentially palimpsests, layered with overlapping lives, structures, and stories. Constantly in flux, each city is a sprawling and unwieldy text that is continually being rewrit More

Kevin Foster reviews 'No Front Line: Australia’s special forces at war in Afghanistan' by Chris Masters

Kevin Foster
19 December 2017

Few organisations defend their reputation more vigorously than the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Long since clasped to the national bosom, the ADF has no intention of being shoehorned ou More

Barbara Keys reviews 'The Cold War: A world history' by Odd Arne Westad

Barbara Keys
19 December 2017

‘The long years we spent plunged in the Cold War made losers of us all,’ Mikhail Gorbachev lamented after the collapse of the Soviet Union. By then, Gorbachev was unequivocally a loser More

Francesca Sasnaitis reviews 'Beautiful Balts: From displaced persons to new Australians' by Jayne Persian

Francesca Sasnaitis
30 November 2017

I grew up in a New Australian household, and admit at the outset to a biased view. My Lithuanian-born parents were actual Baltic immigrants among the other nationalities referred to by the More

Amanda Nettelbeck reviews 'The Good Country: The Djadja Wurrung, the settlers and the protectors' by Bain Attwood

Amanda Nettelbeck
24 November 2017

The Good Country begins in February 1840 with a cross-cultural encounter in Djadja Wurrung country, now central Victoria. Two Protectors of Aborigines, recently appointed to More

Gemma Betros reviews 'Flaubert in the Ruins of Paris: The story of a friendship, a novel, and a terrible year' by Peter Brooks

Gemma Betros
24 November 2017

As we approach the end of what might be considered another pretty terrible year, it’s worth being reminded that every age has its tribulations ...


Miriam Cosic reviews 'The Unwomanly Face of War' by Svetlana Alexievich, translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky

Miriam Cosic
27 October 2017

When Svetlana Alexievich won the Nobel Prize in 2015, the response in the Anglophone world was general bewilderment. Who was she? The response in Russia was the opposite: intense, personal, targeted. Alexievich wasn More

Miriam Cosic reviews 'A Perfidious Distortion of History: The Versailles Peace Treaty and the success of the Nazis' by Jürgen Tampke

Miriam Cosic
29 May 2017

It has been widely accepted that the harshness of the Treaty of Versailles led directly to the rise of National Socialism in Germany and to the horrors of World War II. The punitive effects on the German economy, the affront to German honour, and the unleashing of decadence and nihilism in its wake led to the appeal of extreme nationalism and the call for revenge.More

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