The Sydney Institute Review

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

VICTIM OF THE FALL – A TRIBAL HERO

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THE SINS OF G.K. CHESTERTON By Richard Ingrams Publisher: Harbour Books (East) Ltd,  August 2021 ISBN: 1905128339 RRP Hardcover: $44.20 Reviewed by Gerard Henderson I grew up in a Catholic family in Melbourne in the 1950s.  My mother, a musician undertaking what in those days were sometimes called “home duties”, was a [...]

THE MORE THINGS CHANGE, THE MORE THEY STAY THE SAME…

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CHINA AFTER MAO: THE RISE OF A SUPERPOWER By Frank Dikotter Bloomsbury Publishing ISBN: 9781639730513 RRP: $34.99 (pb) Also: The Tragedy of Liberation, Mao’s Great famine and The Cultural Revolution (all published by Bloomsbury from 2010 to 2016). Reviewed by Keith Harvey   Frank Dikotter is a remarkable historian of modern China. [...]

EXTENDING THAT OTHER FAMILY – THE LIVES AND LOVES OF BLOOMSBURY

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YOUNG BLOOMSBURY – THE GENERATION THAT REIMAGINED LOVE, FREEDOM AND SELF-EXPRESSION By Nino Strachey John Murray 2022 ISBN: 978 1 529 3694 1 RRP: $34.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson     What today’s pronoun obsessed and gender reassignment Woke groups might make of the bohemian Bloomsbury personalities in Britain’s early twentieth [...]

BEWARE A LITTLE KNOWLEDGE WHEN WRITING ON ENGLISH HISTORY

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HITLER’S GIRL – THE BRITISH ARISTOCRACY AND THE THIRD REICH By Lauren Young HarperCollins 2022 ISBN: 978 0 06 293673-8 RRP: $34.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   Sadly for the reputation of a few well known Americans, a lack of understanding of the complexities of the British class system and its [...]

WHEN ONE DRINK IS ONE TOO MANY

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My Last Drink: 32 stories of recovering alcoholics; Ross Fitzgerald and Neal Price (eds) Connor Court Publishing, Queensland, 2022 ISBN:9781922815224 RRP: $29.95 Reviewed by Alan Gregory     This is a grim, but often highly entertaining, read as 32 recovering alcoholics tell the story of how they survived alcoholism.  All contributors to My [...]

BRENDA NIALL’S ACCIDENTAL BUT BRILLIANT & SELF IMPORTANT CAREER – AS TOLD BY BRENDA NIALL

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MY ACCIDENTAL CAREER By Brenda Niall Text Publishing, 2022 ISBN:  9781922458148 RRP: $34.99 (pb) Reviewed by Gerard Henderson     Thanks to the (anonymous) Private Eye (4 November 2022) reviewer of Suleika Dawson’s The Secret Heart: John Le Carré: An Intimate Memoir for reminding readers of the old gag: Question: “How do [...]

FROM ANTI-CONSCRIPTIONIST TO WARTIME PM

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JOHN CURTIN  By David Lee Connor Court Publishing (Australian Biographical Monographs 16), 2022 ISBN - 9781922815095 RRP: $19.95 (pb) Reviewed by Keith Harvey     What a great idea Connor Court’s Australian Biographical Monographs are. They are short, readable biographies of notable Australian politicians designed to present an introductory overview of each [...]

FROM MIDDLE BROW TO HIGH REGARD – THE AGATHA CHRISTIE PHENOMENON

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AGATHA CHRISTIE – A VERY ELUSIVE WOMAN By Lucy Worsley Hodder & Stoughton 2022 ISBN: 9781529303889 RRP: $34.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   Dr Lucy Worsley is joint chief curator at Historic Royal Palaces but best known as a presenter for BBC TV of a number of series on historical topics and in particular historical [...]

BOB HAWKE – LARGER THAN LIFE, IN BRIEF

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Bob Hawke  By Mike Steketee Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd, 2022 ISBN: 9781922815200 RRP: $19.95 (pb) Reviewed by Paul Henderson     The Australian Biographical Monographs series covers the lives and roles of many Australian political leaders. As Mike Steketee, a former chief political correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald base in Canberra [...]

THROUGH THE HOUR GLASS AND ON TO ATOMIC CLOCKS

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ABOUT TIME – A HISTORY OF CIVILISATION IN TWELVE CLOCKS By David Rooney Penguin Books 2022 ISBN: 978 0 241 37051 3 RRP: $22.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   In Lewis Carroll’s classic story of Alice and her adventures in Wonderland, time is a key player. The white rabbit that lures [...]

NO MARRIAGE OF POLITICAL MINDS BUT A STRONG PARTNERSHIP

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The  Art  of  Coalition: The Howard Government Experience, 1996-2007 By David W. Lovell and Andrew Blyth  UNSW Press.  2022 ISBN: ISBN : 9781742237626 RRP: $39.99 (pb) Reviewed by Paul Henderson   The Art of Coalition has two overall editors for the whole book, as well as others who have contributed to a number of [...]

SHATTERED LIVES, SHATTERED COUNTRY – LIFE WITH MAO TSE TUNG

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Pink Flower. Growing Up in Mao’s China by Amei Li & Rafe Champion First Mate Publishing 2022 ISBN-13 978-1922729019 RRP $32.99 (PB) Reviewed by William Coleman   This strongly felt memoir recounts how the Cultural Revolution shattered the lives of the author and her classmates at the Beijing Fifteenth Girls High School. [...]

“HE’S NOT THE MESSIAH. HE’S A VERY NAUGHTY BOY!”

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Bob Hawke: Demons and destiny, the definitive biography By Troy Bramston  Viking 2022 ISBN: 9780143788096 RRP $49.99 (HB) Reviewed by Keith Harvey   The introduction to Troy Bramston’s Bob Hawke: Demons and Destiny contains a content warning. The author advises that this unsanitised look at both the public but also the personal aspects [...]

THE FRASER GOVERNMENT – NOVEMBER 1975 TO MARCH 1983

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FRASER IN OFFICE  by Denis White Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd, 2022 ISBN:9781922449580 RRP: $24.95 (pb) Reviewed by Paul Henderson   Malcolm Fraser is a well-known politician. He was Prime Minister of Australia for over seven years, during which he won three elections (1975, 1977 and 1980). This is something achieved by [...]

NOT ALWAYS SUCH A SAFE HARBOUR

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ACTS OF CRUELTY – AUSTRALIA’S IMMIGRATION LAWS AND EXPERIENCES OF PEOPLE SEEKING PROTECTION AFTER ARRIVAL BY PLANE By Aileen Crowe Palaver 2022 ISBN-13: 9780645588101 RRP: $29.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   For some years, during the Howard Government, I unwittingly found myself as a personal advocate for a number of asylum [...]

THE GOD THAT FAILED – STUART MACINTYRE’S COMMUNIST PARTY OF AUSTRALIA

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THE PARTY – THE COMMUNIST PARTY OF AUSTRALIA FROM HEYDAY TO RECKONING  by Stuart MacIntyre Allen & Unwin 2022, ISBN: 9781760875183 RRP $49.99 Reviewed by Keith Harvey   The Party is Stuart MacIntyre’s second volume of his history of the Communist Party of Australia (CPA). It will also be his last as, sadly, [...]

ROBERT MENZIES AT THE MICROPHONE

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MENZIES: THE FORGOTTEN SPEECHES  By David Furse-Roberts Jeparit Press, 2017 ISBN-10: ‎ 1925501507 ISBN-13: ‎ 978-1925501506 RRP: $68.44 (HB) Reviewed by Paul Henderson   This book is about many of the forgotten speeches and broadcasts produced  by Australia’s longest serving prime minister, Robert Menzies. Before they were recently published, they have been preserved in [...]

A PERSONAL VENDETTA IN AUSTRALIAN MILITARY HISTORY

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LAVARACK: RIVAL GENERAL By Brett Lodge Robinson Reynolds London 2021 ISBN: 978 1 914973 50 5 RRP: $32.95 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   He held a distinguished military record in World War I and rose in the ranks, taking time after the war to remain in Britain with the Australian Imperial [...]

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