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An almanac combining a comprehensive survey of modern culture with an annotated index of who-was-who and what-was-what, Cultural Amnesia is Clive's unique take on the places and the faces that shaped the 20th-century. From Charles de Gaulle to Thomas Mann, from Hitler to Wittgenstein, from Argentina to Australia, this varied and unfailingly absorbing book is both story and history, both public memoir and personal record – and provides an essential field-guide to the vast movements of taste, intellect, politics and delusion that helped to prepare the times we live in now.
About the author
Clive James is the author of more than 20 books. As well as essays, he has published collections of literary and television criticism, travel writing, verse and novels, plus three volumes of autobiography.
In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Australia and in 2003 he was awarded the Philip Hodgins memorial medal for literature.
This book presents Clive James’ accounts of the lives, thoughts and legacies of an astonishing, and idiosyncratic, cast of characters, including Sir Thomas Browne, Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Margaret Thatcher and Beatrix Potter. It is a glorious collision of style and substance. There is no attempt at objectivity; this is a chronicle of the author’s almost visceral connection with his own adventures in learning. This leads to great clarity of insight in many cases. Many chapters are crafted with extraordinary precision and invention, which are two of the hallmarks of literature.
Napoleon Bonaparte's rise to power was neither inevitable nor smooth; it was full of mistakes, wrong turns and pitfalls. During his formative years his identity was constantly shifting, his character ambiguous and his intentions often ill-defined. He was, however, highly ambitious, and it was this ruthless drive that advanced his career.
This book examines the extraordinary evolution of Napoleon's character and the means by which at the age of thirty he became head of the most powerful country in Europe and skilfully fashioned the image of himself that laid the foundation of the legend that endures to this day.
About the author
Philip Dwyer studied in Perth, Berlin and Paris, where he was a student of France's pre-eminent Napoleonic scholar, Jean Tulard. He has published widely on the Revolutionary and Napoleonic eras, and is the editor of Napoleon and Europe, the author of Talleyrand, and has co-edited Napoleon and His Empire: Europe, 1804-1814.
He is currently a Senior Lecturer in Modern European History and is Director of the Centre for the History of Violence at the University of Newcastle, Australia.
This is a wonderfully engaging history of Napoleon’s first 30 years. It gives fascinating accounts of the murky world of Corsican politics, and also of Napoleon’s complex relationship with his wife Josephine.
The modern resonances of this book are remarkable. The challenges facing Napoleon in the Middle East echo through to today. As well, given Dwyer’s view, Napoleon may well have been the first of the modern politicians to use the media consciously to create an heroic image.
The book is meticulously researched, well written and is a work of significant merit.
Little is known of the wife of England's greatest playwright. In play after play Shakespeare presents the finding of a worthy wife as a triumphant denouement, yet scholars persist in believing that his own wife was resented and even hated by him.
Here Germaine Greer strives to re-embed the story of their marriage in its social context and presents new hypotheses about the life of the farmer's daughter who married our greatest poet. This is a daring, insightful book that asks new questions, opens new fields of investigation and research, and rights the wrongs done to Ann Shakespeare.
About the author
Germaine Greer gained her PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1967 with a thesis on Shakespeare's early comedies and has taught Shakespeare at universities in Australia, Britain and the US.
In 1986 she was invited to contribute the volume on Shakespeare to the prestigious Past Masters series.
In 1989 she set up her own publishing imprint, Stump Cross Books, and went on to publish scholarly editions of Katherine Philips, Anne Wharton and Anne Finch, Countess of Winchilsea.
She lives on three acres in north-west Essex, with two dogs, thirteen geese and a fluctuating number of doves.
This book sets out to rehabilitate Ann Hathaway’s history, long dismissed as a minor detail in Shakespeare’s life.
As an examination of life in Stratford in the 16th century it is superb, the detail extraordinary and the style engrossing. It is a work of considerable scholarship -- the amount of detail the author has recovered from tomb stones and forgotten records is impressive – as well as displaying great mastery of prose. Shakespeare’s plays are brilliantly used to shed light on his domestic relationships. The argument is lively and engaging.
Seen as the last 'hot' frontline of the Cold War, the ten-year struggle in the rice paddies and jungles of South Vietnam unleashed devastating firepower on the Vietnamese nation and visited terrible harm on civilians and soldiers. Yet the Australian forces applied tactics that were very different from those of the Americans. Guided by their commanders' experience of jungle combat, Australian troops operated with stealth, deception and restraint in pursuing a 'better war'.
Drawing on hundreds of accounts by soldiers, politicians, aid workers, entertainers and Vietnamese citizens, Paul Ham reconstructs the full history of our longest military campaign.
About the author
Paul Ham is the author of the highly acclaimed Kokoda (2004), Hiroshima Nagasaki (2011) Sandakan (2012), 1914 (2014) and Passchendaele (2016). A former Sunday Times correspondent, he holds a Master’s degree in Economic History from the London School of Economics and lives in Paris and Sydney with his family.
Vietnam won the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Australian History. Kokoda was shortlisted for the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction and the New South Wales Premier’s Prize for Non-Fiction.
This history of Australia’s involvement in the Vietnam war is an extraordinary piece of work. It uncovers the often disturbing story of the political context of Australia’s participation in Vietnam.
The book is both an articulate and objective account of the Australian experience, but has a power that is much more than the sum of its parts.
The book presents a meticulous history and also resonates on an emotional level through its depth and searing honesty
Maya de Jong, an eighteen-year-old country girl from the West, comes to live in Melbourne and starts an affair with her boss, the enigmatic Maynard Flynn, whose wife is dying of cancer.
When Maya's parents, Toni and Jacob, arrive to stay with her, they are told by her housemate that Maya has gone away and no one knows where she is. As Toni and Jacob wait and search for Maya in Melbourne, everything in their lives is brought into question.
They recall the yearning and dreams, the betrayals and choices of their pasts - choices with unexpected and irrevocable consequences. With Maya's disappearance, the lives of all those close to her come into focus, to reveal the complexity of the ties that bind us to one another, to parents, children, siblings, friends and lovers.
Pacy and enthralling, The Good Parents is at once a vision of contemporary Australia and a story as old as fairy tales: that of a runaway girl.
About the author
Joan London is the author of two prize-winning collections of stories, Sister Ships, which won the Age Book of the Year in 1986, and Letter to Constantine, which won the Steele Rudd Award in 1994 and the West Australian Premier’s Award for Fiction. These stories have been published in one volume as The New Dark Age.
Her first novel, Gilgamesh, was published in 2001, won the Age Book of the Year for Fiction and was long listed for the Orange Prize and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
Her second novel, The Good Parents, was published in 2008 and won the Christina Stead Prize for fiction in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.
Joan London’s books have all been published internationally to critical acclaim.
From the winner of the Man Booker Prize comes the bestselling, universally lauded novel of desire and its denial from acclaimed writer Richard Flanagan.
It is 1839. A young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is running through the long wet grass of an island at the end of the world to get help for her dying father, an Aboriginal chieftain. Twenty years later, on an island at the centre of the world, the most famous novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, realises he is about to abandon his wife, risk his name and forever after be altered because of his inability any longer to control his intense passion.
Connecting the two events are the most celebrated explorer of the age, Sir John Franklin – then governor of Van Diemen's Land – and his wife, Lady Jane, who adopt Mathinna, seen as one of the last of a dying race, as an experiment. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilisation is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, Sir John disappears into the blue ice of the Arctic seeking the Northwest Passage, and a decade later Lady Jane enlists Dickens's aid to put an end to the scandalous suggestions that Sir John's expedition ended in cannibalism.
Dickens becomes ever more entranced in the story of men entombed in ice, recognising in its terrible image his own frozen inner life. He produces and stars in a play inspired by Franklin's fate to give story to his central belief that discipline and will can conquer desire. And yet the play will bring him to the point where he is no longer able to control his own passion and the consequences it brings.
Inspired by historical events, Wanting is a novel about art, love, and the way in which life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.
About the author
Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His six novels are published in forty-two countries and have received numerous honours, including the 2014 Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
Murray Bail’s The Pages is a beguiling meditation on friendship and love, on men and women, on landscape and the difficulties of thought itself, by one of Australia’s greatest novelists, the author of the much-loved Eucalyptus.
About the author
Murray Bail was born in Adelaide in 1941. He has won numerous awards, including the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award for Eucalyptus. His novel, The Pages, was published in 2008 to great acclaim.
The Boat takes us from a tourist in Tehran to a teenage hit man in Colombia; from an aging New York artist to a boy coming of age in a small Victorian fishing town; from the city of Hiroshima just before the bomb is dropped to the haunting waste of the South China Sea in the wake of another war. Each story uncovers a raw human truth. Each story is as absorbing and fully realised as a novel. Together, they make up a collection of astonishing diversity and achievement.
About the author
Nam Le’s first book, The Boat, received the Australian Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize (Best Writing Award) the Dylan Thomas Prize, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award and the PEN/Malamud Award among other honours. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book and Editor’s Choice, the best debut of 2008 by the Australian Book Review and New York Magazine, and a book of the year by The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, The Herald Sun, The Monthly, and numerous sources around the world.
The Boat has been translated into thirteen languages and its stories widely anthologised.
Nam Le's collection of fiction, The Boat, which comprises short and long stories, artfully arrayed, is one of the most impressive debuts of recent years.
The range of subjects and settings astonishes, as does the assurance and control with which the author immerses us in the stories that he makes from them.
While the span of the fiction is cosmopolitan, each story is intensely attuned to the local circumstances that deform and enable the lives of these varied characters, animated as they are by love and despair.
As shown especially in the final and title story, Nam Le combines almost reckless artistic boldness with highly disciplined craft.
Renowned book conservator Hannah Heath makes her way to Bosnia to work on restoring a Jewish prayer book recovered from the smouldering ruins of war-torn Sarajevo – to discover its secrets and piece together the story of its miraculous survival. But the trip will also set in motion a series of events that threaten to rock Hannah’s orderly life, including her encounter with Ozren Karamen, the young librarian who risked his life to save the book.
As meticulously researched as all of Brooks’s previous work, ‘People of the Book’ is a gripping and moving novel about war, art, love and survival.
About the author
Geraldine Brooks is the author of three novels, the Pulitzer Prize-winning March and the international bestsellers People of the Book and Year of Wonders. She has also written the acclaimed non fiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.
Born and raised in Australia, she lives on Martha’s Vineyard with her husband, Tony Horwitz, and their two sons.
Physical and mental, sexual and literary, constructive and destructive. Coming of age in a small town peopled with big characters, fourteen-year-old Robbie Burns finds his new teacher Miss Peach the most unforgettable of all – his memories of her will haunt him for the rest of his life.
Everything I Knew challenges our determination to believe in the innocence of childhood and adolescence, and yet again shows Peter Goldsworthy to be a master of shifting tone. There is no novel quite like it in Australian literature.
About the author
Peter Goldsworthy studied medicine at the University of Adelaide and worked for several years in alcohol and drug rehabilitation. Since then he has divided his time between general practice and writing.
He has won major literary awards, across many genres: poetry, short story, novels, theatre, and opera libretti. Goldsworthy’s novels have sold over 400,000 copies in Australia, and have been translated into many languages.
His first novel, Maestro, was voted by members of the Australian Society of Authors as one of the Top 40 Australian books of all time. Five of his novels have been adapted for stage and screen.
A child is imprisoned in a house by her reclusive religious parents. Hester has never seen the outside world; her companions are Cat, Spoon, Door, Handle, Broom, and they all speak to her. Her imagination is informed by one book, an illustrated child's bible, and its imagery forms the sole basis for her capacity to make poetic connection.
One day Hester takes a brave Alice in Wonderland trip into the forbidden outside (at the behest of Handle - 'turn me turn me'), and this overwhelming encounter with light and sky and sunshine is a marvel to her. From this moment on, Hester learns the concept of the secret, and not telling, and the world becomes something that fills her with feeling as if she is a vessel, empty and bottomless for need of it.
About the author
Sofie Laguna’s second novel for adults, The Eye of the Sheep—shortlisted for the Stella Prize—won the 2015 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her first novel for adults, One Foot Wrong, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award.
Sofie’s many books for young people have been published in the US, the UK and in translation throughout Europe and Asia. She has been shortlisted for the Queensland Premier’s Award, and her books have been named Honour Books and Notable Books by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.
Sofie lives in Melbourne with her husband, illustrator Marc McBride, and their two young sons.
A superb book about Don Watson's journeys around America. Featured as one of Newsweek’s 50 ‘What to Read Now and Why’ titles.
Only in America – the most powerful democracy on earth, home to the best and worst of everything – are the most extreme contradictions possible. In a series of journeys acclaimed author Don Watson set out to explore the nation that has influenced him more than any other.
Travelling by rail gave Watson a unique and seductive means of peering into the United States, a way to experience life with its citizens: long days with the American landscape and American towns and American history unfolding on the outside, while inside a tiny particle of the American people talked among themselves.
Watson's experiences are profoundly affecting: he witnesses the terrible aftermath of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast; explores the savage history of the Deep South, the heartland of the Civil War; and journeys to the remarkable wilderness of Yellowstone National Park. Yet it is through the people he meets that Watson discovers the incomparable genius of America, its optimism, sophistication and riches – and also its darker side, its disavowal of failure and uncertainty.
Beautifully written, with gentle power and sly humour, American Journeys investigates the meaning of the United States: its confidence, its religion, its heroes, its violence, and its material obsessions. The things that make America great are also its greatest flaws.
About the author
Don Watson's Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year.
His Quarterly Essay, Rabbit Syndrome: Australia and America won the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize. Death Sentence, his best-selling book about the decay of public language won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year. Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words was also a bestseller.
American Journeys won the Age Non-Fiction and Book of the Year Awards. It also won the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction.
Almost half of the convicts who came to Australia came to Van Diemen’s Land. There they found a land of bounty and a penal society, a kangaroo economy and a new way of life.
In this book, James Boyce shows how the convicts were changed by the natural world they encountered. Escaping authority, they soon settled away from the towns, dressing in kangaroo skin and living off the land. Behind the official attempt to create a Little England was another story of adaptation, in which the poor, the exiled and the criminal made a new home in a strange land.
This is their story, the story of Van Diemen’s Land.
About the author
James Boyce is the author of Born Bad (2014), 1835 (2011) and Van Diemen's Land (2008).
Van Diemen’s Land, won the Tasmania Book Prize and the Colin Roderick Award and was shortlisted for the NSW, Victorian and Queensland premiers’ literary awards, as well as the Prime Minister’s award. Tim Flannery described it as “a brilliant book and a must-read for anyone interested in how land shapes people.”
1835, won the Age Book of the Year Award and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award, the Western Australian Premier's Book Award, the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature and the Victorian Premier's Literary Award. The Sunday Age described it as “A first-class piece of historical writing”. James Boyce wrote the Tasmania chapter for First Australians, the companion book to the acclaimed SBS TV series.
He has a PhD from the University of Tasmania, where he is an honorary research associate of the School of Geography and Environmental Studies.
Elizabeth Jolley was a fine writer. Her publishing career began in her fifties in Australia, but as Brian Dibble demonstrates her writing developed through the decades in England and Scotland, from her family of origin, in boarding schools and hospital wards, and into her independent adult life.
The array of wild characters in her fiction—misfits and those on the edge of society—can also be found in the remarkable life of Elizabeth Jolley.
This is a lyrical and readable biography, one that presents a world of family and pleasures, but always infused somewhere with an unexpended sadness.
About the author
Brian Dibble, who in 1972 founded what is now Communication and Cultural Studies at Curtin University, is Curtin’s Emeritus Professor of Comparative Literature. He has published articles on Elizabeth Jolley’s work and written/edited a dozen books, including his own poetry and prose and two edited volumes of William Hart-Smith’s poetry.
On Thursday 22 May 2008, Bill Henson, one of Australia’s most significant artists, was preparing his new Sydney exhibition. It featured photographs of naked adolescent models. That afternoon, triggered by a newspaper column and the outrage of talkback radio hosts, a controversy exploded in response to these images.
David Marr, one of Australia’s leading journalists, tells the story of this dramatic public trial.
The Henson Case is a remarkable investigative essay which draws on Marr’s extensive interviews with Bill Henson and features eight photographs from the Sydney show.
About the author
David Marr is one of Australia’s most respected journalists. He has written for the Sydney Morning Herald and the Bulletin, won a Walkley for his reportage on ‘Four Corners’ and presented ‘Media Watch’ on ABC TV.
He is the award-winning author of several books, including Patrick White: a Life and His Master’s Voice: The Corruption of Public Debate Under Howard, and he co-authored Dark Victory with Marian Wilkinson.
Acclaimed biographer Jenny Hocking's Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History is the first contemporary and definitive biographical study of the former Labor Prime Minister. From his childhood in the fledging city of Canberra to his first appearance as Prime Minister to his extensive war service in the Pacific and marriage to Margaret, the champion swimmer and daughter of Justice Wilfred Dovey, the biography draws on previously unseen archival material, extensive interviews with family and colleagues, and exclusive interviews with Gough Whitlam himself.
Hocking’s narrative skill and scrupulous research reveals an extraordinary and complex man, whose life is, in every way, formed by the remarkable events of previous generations of his family, and who would, in turn, change Australian political and cultural developments in the twentieth century.
About the author
Jenny Hocking is Head of the School of Journalism, Australian Indigenous Studies at Monash University. She is the author of two major political biographies, Lionel Murphy: A Political Biography, shortlisted in the South Australian Festival Awards for Literature: National Non-Fiction Awards, and Frank Hardy: Politics Literature Life, shortlisted in the NSW Premier's History Awards.
Jenny has also written extensively on counter-terrorism and democracy, most recently in Terror Laws: ASIO, Counter-terrorism and the Threat to Democracy.
At last a history of Australia in its dynamic global context. In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in response to the mobilisation and mobility of colonial and coloured peoples around the world, self-styled 'white men's countries' in South Africa, North America and Australasia worked in solidarity to exclude those peoples they defined as not-white--including Africans, Chinese, Indians, Japanese and Pacific Islanders. Their policies provoked in turn a long international struggle for racial equality.
Leading Australian historians Marilyn Lake and Henry Reynolds tell a gripping story about the circulation of emotions and ideas, books and people in which Australia emerged as a pace-setter in the modern global politics of whiteness. Remarkable for the breadth of its research and its engaging narrative, Drawing the Global Colour Line offers a new perspective on the history of human rights and provides compelling and original insight into the international political movements that shaped the twentieth century.
About the authors
Marilyn Lake holds a Personal Chair in the School of Historical and European Studies at LaTrobe University, Melbourne.
Her publications include Getting Equal: The History of Australian Feminism (1999), Faith: Faith Bandler, Gentle Activist (2002) and, as co-editor, Connected Worlds: History in Transnational Perspective (with Ann Curthoys, 2006).
Henry Reynolds holds a Personal Chair in History and Aboriginal Studies at the University of Tasmania.
His previous publications include The Other Side of the Frontier (1981), Why Weren't We Told? (2000) and The Law of the Land (2003).
The story of a death, a policeman, an island and a country. The Tall Man is the story of Palm Island, the tropical paradise where one morning Cameron Doomadgee swore at a policeman and forty minutes later lay dead in a watch-house cell.
It is the story of that policeman, the tall, enigmatic Christopher Hurley who chose to work in some of the toughest and wildest places in Australia, and of the struggle to bring him to trial. Above all, it is a story in luminous detail of two worlds clashing – and a haunting moral puzzle that no reader will forget.
About the author
Chloe Hooper's first novel, A Child's Book of True Crime, was shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction and was a New York Times Notable Book.
The Tall Man, her non-fiction account of the death in custody of Cameron Doomadgee, won many literary awards.
In 1933 the author and activist Heinrich Mann and his partner Nelly Kroeger fled Nazi Germany, finding refuge first in the south of France and later, in great despair, in Los Angeles, where Nelly committed suicide in 1944 and Heinrich died in 1950.
Born into a wealthy middle class family in Lübeck, Heinrich was one of the leading representatives of Weimar culture; Nelly was twenty seven years younger, the adopted daughter of a fisherman, and a hostess in a Berlin bar. As far as his family was concerned, she was from the wrong side of the tracks.
Their story is crossed by others from their circle, including Heinrich's brother Thomas Mann, his sister Carla, their friends Bertolt Brecht, Alfred Döblin, and Joseph Roth,and beyond them, the writers Egon Kisch, James Joyce, Franz Kafka, Robert Musil, Virginia Woolf and Nettie Palmer.
In train compartments, ship's cabins and rented rooms, they called upon what was left to them — their bodies, their minds, their books — and amidst the debris of an era of self-destruction, built their own annexes to the House of Exile.
About the author
Evelyn Juers has lived in Hamburg, Sydney, London and Geneva. She has a PhD from the University of Essex on the Brontës and the practice of biography.
Her essays on art and literature have appeared in a wide range of Australian and international publications.
An exemplar of the new 'group biography', Juers follows Heinrich, brother of one of the greatest twentieth century writers, to the US where he finds troubled refuge in Los Angeles.
This book is remarkable for both its research and its prose.
Juers has devoted years to the former and the skills of a novelist to the latter, seeing the horrors of the 1930s, in particular the desperate diaspora of Jews seeking to escape the malignancy of Nazism, through the experiences of one distinguished family.