December 2017, issue no. 397

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 ...

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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

Colin Nettelbeck reviews 'Les Parisiennes: How the women of Paris lived, loved, and died in the 1940s' by Anne Sebba

Colin Nettelbeck
30 March 2017

The eminent French historian Annette Wieviorka, in The Era of the Witness (1998, English version in 2006), analyses the difficulties arising, in writing historical narratives about recent times, from the exponential growth in the number of people wanting their stories to be heard. Wieviorka, whose field of specialisation is the Shoah, traces the trend of wh ... More

Christopher Allen reviews 'Imperial Triumph: The Roman world from Hadrian to Constantine' by Michael Kulikowski

Christopher Allen
30 March 2017

Mary Beard’s new history of Rome, reviewed here in March 2016, ended at the point where Edward Gibbon began his great Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, in what he called the happy age of the Antonines. That is also where Michael Kulikowski takes up the story in this book, the first of two intended volumes, although, as he admits, he will not follow Gi ... More

Mark Edele reviews 'Stalin and the Scientists: A History of triumph and tragedy 1905–1953' by Simon Ings

Mark Edele
29 March 2017

The relationship between science and power is central to many struggles of the present. Politics impinges on science when funding is allocated to ‘applied’ or ‘fundamental’ research, when decisions are reached about what should be taught in schools, when governments determine if people can be forced to vaccinate their children, what kinds of interventions in ... More

Alan Atkinson reviews 'Scurvy: The disease of discovery' by Jonathan Lamb

Alan Atkinson
23 March 2017

I have been dazzled and baffled by this book. The variety of learning, showing itself especially in a range of beautiful and apposite quotations, is wonderful. The depiction of scurvy as subjective experience is brilliant and deeply sympathetic. However, parts of the historical argument are very hard to follow, and altogether they suggest that the imagination at pla ... More

Kristian Camilleri reviews 'The Age of Genius: The seventeenth century and the birth of the modern mind' by A.C. Grayling

Kristian Camilleri
21 December 2016

The seventeenth century was unquestionably one of the most tumultuous and transformative periods of European history. It was a century that saw Europe ravaged by war ...

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