Articles in the Reviews Category
The Dismissal: In the Queen’s Name
By Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston
Viking, 432pp, $39.99 (HB)
The information — much of it new — contained in this up-to-date analysis of the dismissal of Gough Whitlam as prime minister is utterly fascinating. Paul Kelly and Troy Bramston, political journalists on this newspaper, have uncovered fresh documents and interviewed scores of participants in the events leading up to, during and after the momentous day of November 11, 1975. In the main, they have made good use of what they found and learned.
Subtitled “In the Queen’s …
Amazon Men: The World’s Greatest Forest That has Eluded and Deluded Explorers for 500 Years
By Adam Courtenay
Endeavour Press, 251pp, $US9.99
As well as being one of the best-known US presidents, Theodore Roosevelt was a larger-than-life adventurer. In 1913 he explored the rainforests of the Amazon, an experience he recounted a year later in his fascinating book ‘Through the Brazilian Wilderness’. He regarded the Amazon as a paradox and a prime example of the casual brutality of the tropics, agreeing with Charles Darwin’s assessment: “one great, wild, untidy, luxuriant hothouse, made by …
A Carefree War: The Hidden History of Australian WWII Child Evacuees
By Ann Howard
Big Sky Publishing, 216pp, $24.95
Of the many hidden histories of World War II, the story of the voluntary evacuation of children in Australia remains one of the most poignant and fascinating. Ann Howard, author of this scrupulously researched and usefully indexed book, was herself a child evacuee from European hostilities. She was removed to what was regarded as the relative safety of the antipodes.
Howard interviewed more than 100 Australians, many of whom provided photographic evidence along with oral …
‘Hope Farm’ (Scribe, 353pp, $29.99) is the second novel from Melbourne writer and musician Peggy Frew, following her excellent 2011 debut ‘House of Sticks.’ It’s the resonant tale of Silver, a girl on the verge of womanhood growing up in a string of communes in the early 1980s, and her mother, Ishtar, a single mum with a troubled past and a taste for charismatic but shonky men.
Frew is a gifted writer, evidenced here by finely balanced observations and atmospheric description. The commune of the title, Hope Farm, is on the …
Making Magic: The Marion Mahony Griffin Story
By Glenda Korporaal
Oranje Media, 342pp, $34.95
Marion Mahony, the second woman to graduate with an architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, went on to become the first licensed female architect in the US.
After working as a loyal assistant to Frank Lloyd Wright in Chicago for almost 15 years, Mahony (1871-1961) teamed up with a handsome man five years her junior, with whom she had previously worked at Wright’s architectural practice and whom she was soon to marry. This was the hugely talented, but …
Three reviews by Ross Fitzgerald in The Sydney Institute Review, October/November 2015
1. ‘The Real Archbishop Mannix – From The Sources’.
Edited by James Franklin, Gerald O Nolan and Michael Gilchrist
RRP – $29.95
Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald
DANIEL MANNIX – SECRETS FROM THE FILES
In addition to Brenda Niall’s ‘Mannix’, also published this year is ‘The Real Archbishop Mannix: From the Sources’, edited by three scholars – James Franklin, Gerard O. Nolan and Michael Gilchrist. Their fascinating assembly of primary sources, including letters and speeches by and about him, further illuminates our …
Solomon’s Noose: The True Story of Her Majesty’s Hangman of Hobart
By Steve Harris
Melbourne Books, 328pp, $29.95
In the mid-19th century, of all the far-flung outposts of the British Empire none was as remote as Van Diemen’s Land. It was, for all intents and purposes, the end of the world.
It was to this distant island fortress that Solomon Bleay (better known as Blay), a 20-year-old English convict suffering from syphilis, was transported for 14 years for the crime of counterfeiting. Blay had previously been sentenced to jail for four months and 12 …
All Fall Down
University of Queensland Press, $32.95. Buy now on Booktopia
‘All Fall Down’ is an exquisite finale to Matthew Condon’s epic analysis of crime and corruption in mid-to-late-20th-century Queensland. This fascinating, clearly written, final volume of Condon’s true-crime trilogy, ‘The Three Crooked Kings’, is buttressed by an enormous amount of research, including face-to-face interviews with leading players at that critical time in Queensland’s political and criminal history.
This book features diary entries and a score of interviews with the police commissioner, Terence (Terry) Lewis, who despite having been found guilty …
Comrade Ambassador: Whitlam’s Beijing Envoy
By Stephen FitzGerald
MUP, 272pp, $34.99
When Gough Whitlam appointed Stephen FitzGerald as Australia’s first ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, he did so with typical ironic humour: “I shall now call you Comrade Ambassador. ” Hence the title of this engaging memoir.
Schooled in Hobart, FitzGerald, the youngest of five children, did not know a single Asian person until he went to the University of Tasmania in 1957. Even there, few students regarded ‘‘the discovery of Asia’’ as a burning issue.
But, as FitzGerald puts it, “the deeply …
The Money Men: Australia’s 12 Most Notable Treasurers
By Chris Bowen
MUP, 472pp, $34.95
Many books have been written about Australian prime ministers but treasurers have not received the same attention — until now. This is strange because being treasurer is justifiably regarded as the country’s second most important job.
In The Money Men, Chris Bowen, who was treasurer for four months under Kevin Rudd and is now shadow treasurer, has written an honest and unbiased evaluation of occupants of the office. He demonstrates considerable sympathy for them, as well as understanding.
In the author’s …
Santamaria: A Most Unusual Man
By Gerard Henderson
The Miegunyah Press, 505pp, $59.99
As it happens, in early October 1997, accompanied by Brisbane-based film director Pat Laughren, I conducted what turned out to be the final film interview with leading Catholic activist BA (‘‘Bob’’) Santamaria, who was born in Brunswick on August 14, 1915, and died in Kew on February 25, 1998.
This interview, held at the headquarters of the National Civic Council in North Melbourne, was for a planned television documentary entitled ‘Stories from the Labor Split.’ In this lengthy interview, the person …