The Quest for Eden-Monaro: A Core Sample of Australian Democracy

review by Angela Marshall

by Eleanor Robin 

There are several aspects of Eden-Monaro, our federal electorate, that many know about it, or think they do. It is one of the original Federation electorates – it was established in 1901 and, although its boundaries have changed many times in keeping with changing population numbers, it is still recognisably the same electorate that it was 121 years ago. It encompasses the high plains of … Read more »

Book Review highlights for 2021

2021 was not the greatest year of our lives but, for avid readers, it has had some terrific highlights. Here are my selections for the best of – would love to hear which books gave you the most pleasure. 

Overall favourites/champions

After Story – Larissa Behrendt; and Kazuo Ishiguro – Klara and the Sun

Best biography

James Campbell – Talking at the Gates: A Life of James Baldwin

Best political histories

Johanna Perheentupa – Redfern: Aboriginal Activism in the 1970s; … Read more »

Dear Son: Letters and Reflections from First Nations Fathers and Sons

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Thomas Mayor
$34.99

Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander, father of five, union official, and tireless advocate for the proposals in the Uluru Statement from the Heart. In this collection he invited twelve contributors to write a letter, either to his father or son. The writers come from a wide range of professions and life experiences, and each is a leader in his own right. They write of life, masculinity, culture and … Read more »

What is to be done? Political engagement and saving the planet

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

What is to be done? Political engagement and saving the planet.
Barry Jones
$35.00

I can’t remember having reviewed a political book before but have made this an exception because I feel nostalgic for Barry Jones, the first Minister for Science in the Hawke government. I was also interested in how he would update his groundbreaking work of the 1980s, Sleepers Wake. That book had an enormous influence in debates here and overseas about … Read more »

Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three women at the heart of twentieth-century China

Reviewed by Heather O’Connor

Jung Chang
Big Sister, Little Sister, Red Sister: Three women at the heart of twentieth-century China
Penguin, $35.00

This fascinating book tells the story of the Soong sisters, each of whom helped to shape 20th century China, and each of whom deserves a biography of her own. Their story has always reminded me of the Mitford sisters in England in terms of how … Read more »

Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark

Reviewed by Debbie Worgan

Phosphorescence: On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark
Julia Baird
Harper Collins, $32.99

I haven’t even finished reading this book, but I already know it’s worthy of a review. Parts of it have resonated so well with my life that it’s almost as if it’s been written for me. The book is largely a collection of essays which reflect Julia’s search for light and meaning – a search that many people can identify with. Julia writes beautifully and … Read more »