The Sydney Institute Review

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

ONE WOMAN’S QUEST TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

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RESTLESS DOLLY MAUNDER By Kate Grenville Text Publishing 2023 ISBN: 9781922790330 RRP: $45 (HB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson     Dolly Maunder’s mistake, according to her grand daughter and literary creator Kate Grenville, was to be born in 1880 and as a woman who was clever and a bit ambitious. As such, [...]

LIVING WITH YOUR SUBJECT – BIOGRAPHY IN THE PUBLIC SPACE

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POLITICAL LIVES – AUSTRALIAN PRIME MINISTERS AND THEIR BIOGRAPHERS By Chris Wallace UNSW Press 2023 ISBN: 9781742237497 RRP: $39.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   What better topic for a book by a contemporary biographer than one about contemporary biographies of Australian prime ministers and the journalists, largely, who wrote them. In [...]

QUEENSLAND’S REMARKABLE SENATOR ANNABELLE

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ANNABELLE RANKIN – AUSTRALIAN BIOGRAPHICAL MONOGRAPHS 18 By Peter Sekuless Connor Court Publishing 2023 ISBN: 9781922815385 RRP: $19.95 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   For a woman of so many firsts, Senator Dame Annabelle Rankin has, as writer Peter Sukeless puts it, “been overlooked for too long”. Now, Connor Court’s Australian Biographical [...]

SOVIET RUSSIA’S CAMPAIGN IN FAVOUR OF FAKE NEWS

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THE RED HOTEL – THE UNTOLD STORY OF STALIN’S DISINFORMATION WAR By Alan Philps Headline Publishing Group 2023 ISBN: 978 1 0354 0131 4 RRP: $34.99 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   It is hard to imagine any untold stories left from the days of Stalinist Russia. But Alan Phips has found [...]

A DICTATOR’S DAUGHTER – ITALY’S YEARS OF FASCISM

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 EDDA MUSSOLINI – THE MOST DANGEROUS WOMAN IN EUROPE By Caroline Moorhead Chatto & Windus London 2022 ISBN: 9781784743239 (HB)  9781784743246 (TPB) RRP: $35 (PB) Reviewed by Anne Henderson   She was cold hearted, wild in temperament, her father’s daughter and a committed fascist. But as to the label given to her [...]

HONORING THE WORK OF THE MANDARIN

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POWER, POLITICS & PARLIAMENT ESSAYS IN HONOUR OF JOHN R. NETHERCOTE Edited by Henry Ergas and Jonathan Pincus Connor Court Publishing Pty Ltd 2023 ISBN:9781922815163 RRP: (HB) $59.95 Reviewed by Michael Baume "Anonymous in Life, Anonymous in Death: Memoirs and biographies of administrators” was the title when John R Nethercote, the Australian [...]

MAKING ROBERT MENZIES – THE EARLY YEARS

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THE YOUNG MENZIES - Success, Failure, Resilience 1894–1942  edited by Zachary Gorman. Melbourne University Press, 2022   ISBN: 9780522879223   RRP:  $49.95 (HB)   Reviewed by Ross Fitzgerald After a brilliant career at the Melbourne bar in the 1920s and a period as Victoria’s Attorney-General, Sir Robert Gordon Menzies eventually became the most [...]

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. [...]

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