History

History

More Than Words by Pat Manser

Reviewed by Gerard Healy This is the interesting story of Australia’s own dictionary by former researcher Patricia Manser. She covers some fascinating territory from the original push to have a publication with a decidedly Australian flavour to the team of dedicated professionals who eventually brought it to light. Along the way are the linguistic byways

Read More »
History

The Light of Days by Judy Batalion

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve In the early 1940’s, when other eighteen-year-olds were enjoying life in London and New York, with movies, clothes and music, an incredibly courageous band of Jewish girls in Poland were fighting their Nazi oppressors. This book is a testament to them, starving, tortured, brave often brazen, they planned their resistance.  Their

Read More »
History

Return to Uluru by Mark McKenna

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It is such a pleasure to read a book that is beautifully presented while, at the same time, reaches the grand heights of scholarship. Written in the tradition of the Black is Beautiful movement (though not as crass and uncouth as the coverage on television), this book supplies an accurate portrayal

Read More »
History

Truth-Telling by Henry Reynolds

Reviewed by Ian Lipke A recent call for indigenous Australians to promote a monstrous plan to soak the Union Jack in the blood of the oppressed is a clear sign of out-of-control frustration. As the twenty-first century rolls by, one realizes that the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities are becoming increasingly vocal. However, without

Read More »
History

Moscow Monumental by Katherine Zubovich

Reviewed by Ian Lipke To think I would be up at 4.30 am, reading a book about tall buildings in Moscow, is ludicrous. Yet there I was, sleep-deprived, absorbed in Katherine Zubovich’s Moscow Monumental, a grey, dull-covered book (totally representative of Stalinist times), not something that normally attracts my attention. The source of my interest

Read More »
History

Bastard Behind The Lines by Tom Gilling

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Until I read Tom Gilling’s book, I had never heard of a soldier called Jock McLaren, a soldier who seems to have become a casualty of history. Only a very driven man could escape from two Japanese-held prisons during World War 2 and then carry the fight with guerrilla contingents after

Read More »
History

Land by Simon Winchester

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve English/American author, Simon Winchester has written many fine non-fiction books, amongst them The Map that Changed the World and The Surgeon of Crowthorne. He presents facts and information in a way that engages readers and otherwise dry subjects are so discussed that his books are a pleasure to read. In a

Read More »
History

Rome is Burning by Anthony A. Barrett

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The title of this authoritative work suggests that the author’s subject will be the specific fire of 64 C.E. that burned down large portions of Nero’s Rome. This turns out to be the case except it’s a ‘friends with benefits’ situation. We learn a great deal about that specific fire together

Read More »
History

Breaker Morant by Peter FitzSimons

Reviewed by Ian Lipke The cover of Breaker Morant reveals that Peter Fitzsimons is Australia’s bestselling non-fiction writer as well as Australia’s greatest storyteller. Grand statements, indeed. (I wonder what Henry Lawson might have thought!) Readers, however casual, cannot fail to see the thirty pages of Endnotes, the five-page bibliography, and the twelve-page index, each

Read More »
History

France before 1789: The Unraveling of an Absolutist Regime by Jon Elster

Reviewed by Ian Lipke In his book, L’Ancien Régime et la Révolution (1856) Alexis de Tocqueville  claimed that the French Revolution (1789–1799) was never intended to change the whole nature of traditional society. It was not interested in tearing down all forms of the ancien régime or in creating a state of permanent disorder. He argued a theory

Read More »
History

People of the River by Grace Karskens

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Almost seven hundred pages face the reader of Professor Grace Karskens’s latest book People of the River. This is a masterpiece of historical writing that deals with the lost worlds of early Australia (as she calls them). Karskens bases her text on the Hawkesbury and Nepean Rivers areas, where she identifies

Read More »
History

Hitler’s Northern Utopia by Despina Stratigakos

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Hitler’s Northern Utopia addresses a hitherto unresearched aspect of the already extensive literature on Nazism, and that is architecture in a distant place like Norway. A decided paucity of exposure in the literature is undoubtedly due to a lack of specific knowledge among the relatively small number of mainstream historians whose

Read More »
History

The Decline and Rise of Democracy by David Stasavage

Reviewed by Ian Lipke It seems incongruous that a book on such a timid concept as democracy has become one of the most exciting, serious books I’ve read. When Stasavage asks where democracy originated, he provides answers that are not what readers expect. When he examines the nature of democracy, he delves into a very

Read More »
Scroll to Top