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[24 Jul 2014 | No Comment | 5 views ]

Review of AUSTRALIA’S SECRET WAR: HOW UNIONS SABOTAGED OUR TROOPS IN WORLD WAR II BY HAL COLEBATCH
QUADRANT BOOKS
H/B, 2013, RRP $44.95 ISBN 9780980677874
It is useful to be reminded that, as a result of the Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression Pact, signed on 21 August 1939, Hitler and Stalin were allies. This meant that, at that time, Australian Communists loyal to Moscow were obliged to support the German war machine.
As Hal G P Colebatch points out, in his provocative new book ‘Australia’s Secret War’, this arrangement lasted until Hitler invaded Russia on 22 June …

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[19 Jul 2014 | No Comment | 27 views ]

Review of ‘Gravity: Inside the PM’s Office During Her Last Year and Final Days’
By Mary Delahunty
Hardie Grant, 242pp, $29.95
ON the night of June 24, 2010, Labor’s then deputy prime minister, the popular and respected Julia Gillard, was catapulted into office to become Australia’s first female PM.
The next morning, Gillard emerged to a stunned nation, as award-winning journalist Mary Delahunty aptly puts it, “like a butterfly from its chrysalis”.
It is intriguing to remember that at the time Gillard didn’t fully explain why she was there, saying only that “a good government …

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[28 Jun 2014 | No Comment | 28 views ]

Review
Menzies at War
By Anne Henderson
New South, 263pp, $34.99
WHATEVER you think of Robert Menzies, he is one of the towering figures of Australian politics. In ‘Menzies at War’ Anne Henderson has written a compelling account of the first prime ministership of the future founder of the Liberal Party, who between April 26, 1939, and August 29, 1941, led Australia during the troublesome beginnings of World War II.
Although sometimes repetitive, this well-researched and finely illustrated book follows on from Henderson’s previous work about Aus­tralia in the 1930s. In particular, she has illumin­ated …

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[7 Jun 2014 | No Comment | 12 views ]

Review of Dangerous Allies
By Malcolm Fraser, with Cain Roberts
MUP, 360pp, $65 (HB)
IN the public mind, Malcolm Fraser is best remembered for the following: taking over the prime ministership in 1975 as a result of John Kerr’s dismissal of Gough Whitlam; opposing the white supremacist regime in Rhodesia and supporting the Commonwealth campaign to dismantle apartheid in South Africa; publicly weeping when he was defeated as PM in 1983; and losing his pants in a shady hotel in Memphis in 1986.
Written with the assistance of academic Cain Roberts, Fraser’s ‘Dangerous Allies’ …

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[31 May 2014 | No Comment | 12 views ]

Review of ‘Carrier Attack: Darwin 1942′.
By Tom Lewis and Peter Ingman
Avonmore Books, 368pp, $49.99 (HB)
THE surprise air attack by the Japanese on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, was unforgettably described by then US president Franklin Delano Roosevelt as “a day of infamy”. A few weeks later we had a similar brush with infamy. On the morning of February 19, 1942, four days after the surrender of Singapore, 242 Japanese aircraft savagely bombed the isolated, lightly defended port of Darwin and its two airfields, especially targeting more than 60 Allied …

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[17 May 2014 | No Comment | 13 views ]

Stoker’s Submarine: Australia’s Daring Raid on the Dardanelles on the Day of the Gallipoli Landing, Anzac Centenary Edition
By Fred and Elizabeth Brenchley
Australia Teachers of Media, $280pp, $49.95
THE little-known stories of war are an important part of our ongoing fascination with the two global conflicts of the 20th century. The adventures of an Australian submarine in the Dardanelles on the eve of the Gallipoli campaign is one such story, and in Fred and Elizabeth Brench­ley’s hands it is a ripping yarn indeed.
The story begins on the morning of April 25, 1915, …

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[9 May 2014 | No Comment | 32 views ]

NORMAN HAIRE AND THE STUDY OF SEX BY DIANA WYNDHAM
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY PRESS
P/B, 2012, RRP $35
ISBN: 9781743320068
This fine biography of prominent Australian-born sexologist and ardent campaigner for birth control, Dr Norman Haire, contains a wealth of information.
Born Norman Zions in Sydney in 1892 as the eleventh, and last, child of modestly prosperous Jewish parents, he attended Fort Street Model School where he was a star debater who aspired to being an actor.
Forced by his father to study medicine, Haire who remained a closet homosexual until his premature death in 1952, …

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[29 Mar 2014 | No Comment | 67 views ]

CORRUPTION
‘Jacks and Jokers’
Matthew Condon
University of Queensland Press, $29.95
Brisbane author and journalist Matthew Condon has produced a highly readable, well-researched and multi-layered expose of police and political malfeasance in the Sunshine State. Following on from the widely praised ‘Three Crooked Kings’, ‘Jacks and Jokers’ begins in mid-1976. Exiled in the dusty western Queensland town of Charleville, Inspector Terence (”Terry”) Lewis is soon to be controversially appointed by the Bjelke-Petersen government as deputy commissioner, and then rapidly as commissioner of police.
As Condon makes clear, Lewis was aided and encouraged in his ascendancy …

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[22 Feb 2014 | No Comment | 27 views ]

FOR self-confessed cricket tragic Barry Nicholls, there’s only one sport that teaches the lessons of life. Nicholls, a former first-grade player in his home state South Australia, discovered the joys of cricket, and of radio, by listening to the Test match commentaries of Alan McGilvray on the BBC. Now presenter of ‘Statewide Drive’ on ABC Local Radio in Western Australia, Nicholls also hosts “110 per cent”, a sport books segment on ABC ‘Radio’s Grandstand’.
He is adamant that cricket has taught him much about what really matters. One of the main …