Non-Fiction

Non-Fiction

The Witness by Tom Gilling

Reviewed by Ian Lipke This is the nonfictional account of the precarious lives led by Australian prisoners of war at the infamous Sandakan POW camp in Borneo in WW2. It purports to tell the story through the eyes of Warrant Officer Bill Sticpewich’s, whom some see as a hero, others as a collaborator. The story

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Non-Fiction

Stolen Focus by Johann Hari

Reviewed by E. B. Heath Apparently, human brains are drowning in an ocean of distraction; our focus is being commandeered by modern technology.  For this reason, Johann Hari completely unhitched himself from the rigging of his digital life and sailed off to Provincetown, Cape Cod, to live as a pre-cyber-age man.  His goal was to

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Non-Fiction

All the Living and the Dead by Hayley Campbell

Reviewed by Richard Tutin It is said that there are two certainties in life – death and taxes. While we are able to navigate to a certain extent the mysteries of the Tax Office, we are less knowledgeable about death. As a society we fear death even though it is part of how life is

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Non-Fiction

For the Good of the World by A. C. Grayling

Reviewed by E.B. Heath The linguistic agility of some writers has the effect of organising the mind – much like a librarian applying the Dewey Decimal system to a pile of dusty books – Professor Grayling is one such writer. He makes light work for the reader despite the dense subject matter concerning significant threats

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Non-Fiction

The Joy of Science by Jim Al-Khalili

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke An attempt to understand a concept such as science releases passion and inspiration and too often frustration, as the subject’s vastness and its predisposition to cognitive challenge leave its practitioners overwhelmed. Iraqi-British theoretical physicist and chair of public engagement in science at the University of Surrey, Jim Al-Khalili, spends half his

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Non-Fiction

When the Dust Settles by Lucy Easthope

Reviewed by Gail McDonald Professor Lucy Easthope is the United Kingdom’s leading authority on recovering from disaster, whether that is as a result of earthquakes, tsunami, fire bombings or war. Lucy has been at the forefront of the development of policy and practice guidelines in partnership with governments for most tragedies that impact on populations

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Non-Fiction

Mindwandering by Moshe Bar

Reviewed by Patricia Simms-Reeve Neuroscience is universally engaged in the study of the fascinating organ that is our brain. An eminent expert in this field, Moshe Bar, has produced a book that is claimed to be the first to deal with a particular area of brain function – Mindwandering.  He has attempted to make this

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Non-Fiction

Fishing in the Good Old Days by Bob Kearney

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Fishing is a popular past time in Australia. Recreational fishing has really taken off in recent years. Television programmes sponsored by stores selling the right tackle and equipment are big right now as is the sale of boats to enable those fishing to reach their favourite spots. Through his book, Bob

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Non-Fiction

Sounds Wild and Broken by David George Haskell

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Every now and then a book comes along that makes you want to read and read, forgetting all other responsibilities in the enjoyment of the task. Such a book is David Haskell’s Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction. Haskell takes us back to

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Non-Fiction

How to be Perfect by Michael Schur

Reviewed by Richard Tutin There is a song that came out some years ago where the singer complains about how hard it is to be humble when they are perfect in every way. While this smacks of self-centred boasting, the desire to be perfect has been ingrained into the human psyche since the beginning of

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Non-Fiction

Telling Tennant’s Story by Dean Ashenden

Reviewed by Ian Lipke Have you ever returned to a town where you grew up as a lad? Have you been struck by how much your memory fails to tally with the town in its grown-up state? Dean Ashenden visits Tennant Creek, fifty years after his last sojourn there. While the town has been transformed,

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Non-Fiction

Cars We Used to Drive by Don Loffler

Reviewed by Richard Tutin Picking up this book was like receiving an invitation to relive the past. Don Loffler’s pictorial assembly of cars owned and driven between 1946 and 1966 brought back many memories. The vehicles that are highlighted were on the go during my childhood and teenage years. I found myself looking to see

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Non-Fiction

The Mutant Project: Inside the Global Race to Genetically Modify Humans by Eben Kirksey

Reviewed by E.B. Heath It is clear the race to genetically modify humans is relentless as an incoming tide.  Anthropologists, ethicists, and activists, at pains to slow the surge, are having as much success as King Canute’s futile attempts to control the sea.  Furthermore, genetic experiments are not just happening in well-regulated laboratories! In The

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Non-Fiction

Mortals by Rachel E. Menzies and Ross G. Menzies

Reviewed by Clare Brook Only a life that faces the truth of the finality of death allows an individual to live without existential anxiety, freeing them to pursue a passionate, authentic existence in the limited time that they have.  Menzies & Menzies. We’re all going to die!  Maybe not today, or tomorrow, but at some point

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Non-Fiction

Flight of the Budgerigar by Penny Olsen

Review by Richard Tutin There are some Australians who are better known overseas than they are here in their own country. The budgerigar suffered from this fate for many years. As Penny Olsen explains in Flight of the Budgerigar, this small gregarious bird was, for many years, sought after by people outside of Australia but

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