History

Rachel Robertson reviews 'A Tear in the Soul' by Amanda Webster

Rachel Robertson

A Tear in the Soul is a fine example of creative non-fiction that unfolds a personal story but also advances our knowledge of Australian society, past and present. It is a nuanced contribution to the growing body of literature in which contemporary non-Indigenous Australians attempt to make sense of the history of white settlement and take responsibility fo ... More

Danielle Clode reviews 'Crusoe’s Island: A rich and curious history of pirates, castaways and madness' by Andrew Lambert

Danielle Clode

The story of Robinson Crusoe, penned by Daniel Defoe in 1719, is one those remarkable books that created a new genre. The ‘Robinsonade’ or castaway story became one of the most popular forms of adventure novel, inspiring a host of famous ‘imitators’: Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Ebb-Tide (1894), R.M. Ballantyne’s The Coral Island (1858) ... More

Christopher Allen reviews 'The Holy Roman Empire: A thousand years of Europe’s history' by Peter H. Wilson

Christopher Allen

Empires of a thousand years’ duration are not common in the history of the world. Adolf Hitler’s dream of a thousand-year Reich evaporated after little more than a decade, and Napoleon’s conquests were not much more lasting. Even the Roman Empire, depending on the dates we set for its beginning and ending, succumbed to internal decline and barbarian invasion a ... More

Colin Wight reviews 'ISIS: A history' by Fawaz A. Gerges

Colin Wight

After the prolonged débâcle following the 2003 invasion of Iraq, events in the Middle East in late 2010 and early 2011 seemed to be taking a turn for the better. The ‘Arab street’ had found its voice and democracy, we were led to believe, was on the march. Despite the setbacks that followed 9/11, perhaps Francis Fukuyama’s optimistic liberal triumphalism con ... More

Peter Morgan reviews 'Fracture: Life and culture in the West 1918–1938' by Phillip Blom

Peter Morgan

In 1915 a young Englishman was repatriated from the Western front to Craiglockhart psychiatric hospital in Scotland. Traumatised and disillusioned, he would write ...

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Christopher Menz reviews 'Australia: A German traveller in the age of gold' by Friedrich Gerstäcker

Christopher Menz

Formerly only known to historians and specialists, either in the original German or the author's abridged translation, Friedrich Gerstäcker's Australian travelogue (1854), based on ...

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Glyn Davis reviews 'Britain's Europe: A thousand years of conflict and cooperation' by Brendan Simms

Glyn Davis

For elections in Britain, the polling stations stay open until late, with counting through to dawn. So it was a sleepless night for many on Thursday, 23 June 2016 ...

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Stephanie Trigg reviews 'The History of Emotions: An Introduction' by Jan Pampler and translated by Keith Tribe

Stephanie Trigg

A year or so after I had begun my work in the Australian Research Council's Centre of Excellence for the History of Emotions, the immortal words of 'Ern Malley', 'The emotions are not skilled workers', bored a hole into my brain, dug around a bit, and settled there as a perpetual irritant. Malley's phrase has an oblique genealogy. Coined by James McAuley and Harold ... More

Norman Etherington reviews 'The Princeton Companion to Atlantic History' Edited by Joseph C. Miller

Norman Etherington

Atlantic history and the closely related phrase 'Atlantic World' refer to a geographical/historical way of thinking about interactions among peoples of Europe, Africa, and the Americas between about 1500 and 1900. Practitioners of Atlantic history, like other scholars washed up from the wreck of nation-based historical writing, find it impossible to comprehend the p ... More

Christopher Allen reviews 'SPQR' by Mary Beard

Christopher Allen

At the very bottom of Hell, Dante represents Satan with three mouths, each of which endlessly devours a figure personifying treachery and rebellion against God. One of these, predictably enough, is Judas. What may be surprising to the modern reader is that the other two are Brutus and Cassius, the assassins of Julius Caesar. In the medieval vision of the universe an ... More

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