August 2016, issue no. 383

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.

Ri ... More

Diana Glenn reviews 'Dante: The story of his life' by Marco Santagata

Diana Glenn

This sumptuous volume by Marco Santagata, professor of Italian Literature at the University of Pisa, offers the reader a richly documented and often gripping account of the development, peregrinations, and shifting fortunes of the celebrated poet Durante (Dante) Alighieri. Comprising ten chapters, the volume has an internal division in two parts, with the first cove ... More

Michael Morley reviews 'Nicholas Nabokov: A Life in Freedom and Music' by Vincent Giroud

Michael Morley

In an interview from 1978, the year of Nicolas Nabokov's death (he was born in 1903 in Lubcza, now in Belarus), which is included in the epilogue to this volume, Isaiah Berlin summed up some of the qualities of the cosmopolitan figure he seems to have considered his best friend:

He was a very cultivated man: I found him to be one of the most civiliz ... More
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