The Sydney Institute Review

The Sydney Institute Review2023-12-06T09:39:12+11:00

THE ART OF FAILING UPWARDS

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THE ASCENT OF EVEREST (BOXED SET) by Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen  Hybrid Publishers, 2024 ISBN. 9781922768278 RRP: $49.99 (PB) Reviewed by Rocco Loiacono       The four novels of the satirical series concerning Professor Grafton Everest, a rambunctious, overweight, fictional academic written together by Ross Fitzgerald (emeritus professor of history and history) and Ian McFadyen [...]

TWENTIETH CENTURY TRAGEDY – AS SEEN IN THE TALE OF ONE FAMILY

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THE SCHOLEMS: A STORY OF THE GERMAN BOURGEOISIE FROM EMANCIPATION TO DESTRUCTION By Jay Howard Geller Cornell University Press 2019 ISBN:9781501731563 RRP: US$29.95 Reviewed by Anne Henderson       It has become a favoured technique in historical writing to enter the past through the connecting links of one family and its [...]

FRANK KNOPFELMACHER: A SELF-PROCLAIMED “THREAT EXPERT” WHO WAS RIGHT ABOUT NAZI AND COMMUNIST TOTALITARIANISM

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FRANK KNOPFELMACHER: SELECTED WRITINGS by Andrew Knopfelmacher Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd, 2024 ISBN:  97819232241 RRP: $32.25 (pb) Reviewed by Gerard Henderson     I remember the sense of disappointment experienced when Frank Knopfelmacher’s first and – as it turned out – only book was released in 1968.  It was titled Intellectuals [...]

A LONG-DISTANCE RUNNER’S VERY SHORT ECONOMIC HISTORY

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THE SHORTEST HISTORY OF ECONOMICS  by Andrew Leigh Black Inc, February 2024 ISBN:  978-1760644000 RRP: $27.99 (pb) Reviewed by Gerard Henderson     Is there anything that can stop Andrew Leigh? – the Australian Labor Party member for  Fraser in the Australian Capital Territory who is the Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities [...]

THE LUCK AND LIFE OF DONALD HORNE – FROM UNPOPULAR CONSERVATIVE TO NATIONAL FAVOURITE

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DONALD HORNE – A LIFE IN THE LUCKY COUNTRY  By Ryan Cropp La Trobe 2023 ISBN: 9781760641375 RRP: $37.99 Reviewed by Anne Henderson       It took a year to write in 1964 but was years in the making; its title came as a light bulb moment when Geoffrey Dutton suggested [...]

 AS SWEET AS BATTLES WON – DEBORAH CONWAY’S JOURNEY

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BOOK OF LIFE  by Deborah Conway Allen & Unwin 2023 ISBN: 9781761069383 RRP: $34.99 (pb) Reviewed by Anne Henderson       Some way into Deborah Conway’s memoir Book of Life, she writes of her “meandering patchwork quilt career”. And what a patchwork of brilliant colour it is. Dark and light, shade [...]

‘FOR SERVICES TO PEACE’…AND THE SOVIET UNION

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MY FATHER'S SHADOW by Sandra Goldbloom Zurbo Monash University Publishing, 2023 ISBN: 9781922979186 RRP: $32.99 (pb) Reviewed by Keith Harvey       Adding to the canon of books by left-wingers and their children is My Father’s Shadow, a memoir written by the eldest daughter of Sam Goldbloom, Sandra. Goldbloom was well [...]

TO RUSSIA WITH LOVE; FROM RUSSIA DISILLUSIONED

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NO COUNTRY FOR IDEALISTS: THE MAKING OF A FAMILY OF SUBVERSIVES By Boris Frankel Greenmeadows, 2024 ISBN: 9780648363385 RRP: $34.99 (pb) Reviewed by Keith Harvey       There is an increasing number of memoirs written by left-wing activists and now by their children. None of these could tell a stranger story [...]

MORE THAN LIVES – AUSTRALIA’S SACRIFICE IN THE GREAT WAR

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LIFE SO FULL OF PROMISE - further biographies of Australia’s lost generation By Ross McMullin Scribe 2023 ISBN (13):9781922585820 RRP: $49.99 (pb) Reviewed by Lucas Jordan   Life So Full of Promise: further biographies of Australia’s lost generation, is Ross McMullin’s second multi-biography featuring young Australians of remarkable talent who were killed [...]

THE KENNEDYS AS CAMELOT – WHERE IT ALL BEGAN

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CAMERA GIRL – THE COMING OF AGE OF JACKIE BOUVIER KENNEDY By Carl Sferrazza Anthony Gallery Books 2023 ISBN: 978 1 9821 4187 5 RRP: $49.99 (HB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   It’s hard to imagine there would still be much to reveal about Jackie Bouvier Kennedy that has not been written [...]

THE MANY ROOMS IN FRANK MOORHOUSE – MORE THAN WRITING

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FRANK MOORHOUSE A LIFE By Catharine Lumby Allen & Unwin 2023 ISBN: 978 1 74237 224 2 RRP: $34.99 (PB)     As his friend and literary trustee Helen Lewis has recorded: “There were many rooms in Frank Moorhouse.” In this cute play on words, Lewis captured the many layered man she [...]

A BELATED COMING OF AGE – FALLING IN LOVE WITH ISRAEL

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MY LIFE AS A JEW By Michael Gawenda Scribe 2023 ISBN: 978 1 761380 47 1 RRP: $35 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   As a memoir, Michael Gawenda’s My Life as a Jew is part autobiography, part confession, part analysis of historical and contemporary global antisemitism and part a journey of [...]

POLITICAL LIVES COMPARED – ARTHUR CALWELL & BRIAN HARRADINE

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Arthur Calwell -  by James Franklin and Gerry O’Nolan Australian Biographical Monographs 20  Connor Court Publishing, 2023 ISBN:  9781922815811 RRP: $19.95       Brian Harradine – by Keith Harvey Australian Biographical Monographs 21 Connor Court Publishing, 2023 ISBN:  9781922815866 RRP: $19.95 Reviewed by Gerard Henderson   Judged by their electoral performances [...]

AUSTRALIAN WOMEN HEROES OF THE PACIFIC WAR

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SISTERS IN CAPTIVITY SISTER BETTY JEFFREY OAM AND THE COURAGEOUS STORY OF AUSTRALIAN ARMY NURSES IN SUMATRA, 1942-1945 by Colin Burgess Simon & Schuster Australia, 2023 ISBN 9781761109089 RRP $34.99   Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald This fine book, Sisters in Captivity, is dedicated to “the heroic nurses who lived this story but never made [...]

HOW THE MALAYA CAMPAIGN BROUGHT DOWN AN AUSTRALIAN GENERAL

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THE FALL OF GENERAL GORDON BENNETT By Brett Lodge Robinson Reynolds 2023 ISBN: 978 1 914973 55 0 RRP: $35 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson Brett Lodge’s The Fall of General Gordon Bennett (just released in a revised edition) is advertised as the “definitive biography”. In fact, Lodge has meticulously researched and [...]

CHINA’S GENOCIDE IN XINJIANG

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THE PERFECT POLICE STATE - AN UNDERCOVER ODYSSEY INTO CHINA’S TERRIFYING SURVEILLANCE DYSTOPIA OF THE FUTURE by Geoffrey Cain PublicAffairs/Hachette Australia 2021; ISBN: 9781541757035; RRP: $49.99 (hb) *** NO ESCAPE – THE TRUE STORY OF CHINA’S GENOCIDE OF THE UYGHURS by Nury Turkel HarperCollins 2022; ISBN: 9781335469564; RRP: $USD 28.99 or $51.25 [...]

THE SQUATTERS’ GRAB – WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG

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THE SQUATTERS’ GRAB – WHERE IT ALL WENT WRONG By Wal Walker Wal Walker 2023 ISBN 978 0 646 99705 6 RRP: $36.95 (pb) Reviewed by Anne Henderson After a long campaign in Australia in 2023 over constitutional change and recognition of Indigenous Australians in the Australian constitution, reading Wal Walker’s The [...]

GETTING OFF THE BOOZE IN A BOOZE-OBSESSED CULTURE

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LAST DRINKS: HOW TO DRINK LESS AND BE YOUR BEST By Maz Compton, John Wiley & Sons, 2023 ISBN 9781394184231 RRP $32.95 (PB) Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald   Many Australians now realise that our booze-obsessed culture is extremely destructive. The murder, mayhem, individual, societal and family destruction that alcohol abuse leaves in its wake [...]

GRAFTON EVEREST ON TOP OF THE (UNITED NATIONS) WORLD

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PANDEMONIUM By Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen Hybrid Publishers: Melbourne ISBN - 9781922768131 RRP: $32.99 Reviewed by Ken Spillman   The late Barry Humphries knew a thing or two about creating memorable characters. It’s notable, then, that the front cover of Ross Fitzgerald and Ian McFadyen’s latest collaboration, Pandemonium, quotes Humphries’ view [...]

HOW SEARCHING FOR A WIFE REVEALED MUCH LOST ABOUT HER FAMOUS HUSBAND

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WIFEDOM – MRS ORWELL’S INVISIBLE LIFE By Anna Funder Hamish Hamilton 2023 ISBN: 978 9 14378 711 2 RRP: $36.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   From the time some ancient scribbler put the words of the Book of Genesis together, a woman, or the female of the human species, has been [...]

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