History

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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