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Friday, 25th July 2014

API Review of Books

Altitude BirdIssue 44
Features reviews by Kathleen Broderick, Linn Miller, Christine Choo, Bill Thorpe, David Ritter, Eve Vincent, Stephanie Bishop, Alison Miles, Richard Kay, Amanda Day, Bernard Whimpress, Mads Clausen, Marion May Campbell, Sylvia Alston, Catie Gilchrist, Eva Chapman, Lucy Dougan, Stephen Lawrence and Nathanael O'Reilly. Click here for more details.


Altitude BirdPopular Music: Practices, Formations and Change - Australian Perspectives
The papers collected here in this special edition of Altitude offer a brief snapshot of popular music research broadly connected with Australia. The essays demonstrate the variety of theoretical and methodological approaches used by researchers in the fields of popular music studies and cultural studies to explore themes of popular music practice, formation and change in an Australian context. Click here for more details.

Network Scholars

The 'little empire of Wybalenna': Becoming Colonial in Australia

  • Anna Johnston
    The colonial past is hot property in Australian public life at present. Debates throughout the 1990s about ‘black armband’ history versus ‘white blindfold’ history, about histories of land use and ownership, and about what constitutes ‘mainstream’ Australian historical scholarship seem to have coalesced in the arguments surrounding Keith Windschuttle’s publications. In this most recent set of history wars, some Australian historians seem to feel under siege.3 Others, as Nicolas Rothwell suggests, see this as a breath of life for the discipline, ...
    Click here to read more.

Network Review of Books

Someone Else's Country: A fearless, funny and profoundly moving Australian story (2005)

  • imageReviewed by Jeannie Herbert in the October 2005 issue.
    Fast moving, full of action and energy, Someone Else's Country enables the reader to get a 'taste of life' as it really is for many Indigenous Australians. The author has chosen to structure the book using short chapters and a sparse, almost staccato style of writing, providing a series of brief glimpses into modern Aboriginal lifestyles. The ease of reading enables the reader to make rapid progress into the book. Initially there is an impression of skimming across the surface of life, not unlike the way in which many of us increasingly live our lives -- our knowledge of others being gleaned ... read more.

The Long Game and Other Poems (2005)

  • imageReviewed by Lucy Dougan in the July 2006 issue.
    Susan Sontag once called John Berger 'our most citizenly essayist'. In the field of contemporary Australian poetry, this tag could well be applied to Bruce Beaver (1928-2004) who is, without a doubt, one of our most citizenly poets. In the shrinking market of Australian literary work his posthumously published collection The Long Game and other poems (UQP, 2004) bears witness to the absolute significance and value of a late life artist who has toughed it out. Beaver was a vocational poet who for much of his writing life was supported by his wife Brenda. If 'the long game' is life itself, ... read more.

The Well Mouth (2005)

  • imageReviewed by Stephen Lawrence in the July 2006 issue.
    'I breathe air into poems'A gripping, unified, sustained and powerful poetry collection. Salom is now a very accomplished writer, much improved from even five years ago when his A Cretive Life and its light ironies bounced away from insight. His writing then demonstrated a tourist's research, his poems showed their price-tags. However, with eleven publications to his name (the overenthusiastic cover blurb twice mentions his 'fecundity'), seven of them through the Fremantle Press, he has grown into a superior poet. The Well Mouth's structure gives it traction and is the source of its ... read more.

Influence - Operator: Two Plays (2005)

  • imageReviewed by David Crouch in the February 2006 issue.
    If the rumours are true, rather than a ploy to promote a play, then it seems David Williamson has written his final work for the theatre. Influence is reportedly Williamson's last play, and it seems a highly successful note on which to end; the play broke the Sydney Theatre Company's box office records when it debuted, and the script has the incisive insight and economy of Williamson's best creations. As in earlier work like The Removalists, the play draws its substance from certain crucial, always vexed, issues in currency within the milieu of contemporary society; and, again in keeping with ... read more.

Poetry and Philosophy from Homer to Rousseau: Romantic souls, realist lives (2005)

  • imageReviewed by Susan Tridgell in the July 2005 issue.
    Despite the presence of Rousseau in the title, this is not a book for those who are devoted to Romantic literature (or indeed for romantics more generally). The idealistic impulse of Romanticism, the wish to dedicate oneself wholly to a single idea (or another person) comes under sustained fire in this monograph. Remarkably, Haines manages to trace this Romantic notion back to what he sees as its origins in Plato. In some ways this book is an excoriation of the main lines of thought in Western literature and philosophy, a tale of complete cultural loss. Redeeming it from this ... read more.

A Trial Separation: Australia and the Decolonisation of Papua New Guinea (2005)

  • imageReviewed by Daniel Vujcich in the April 2006 issue.
    September, 1975 has been romanticised and mythologised in national historical narratives on either side of the Torres Strait. The recent thirtieth anniversary of Papua New Guinean sovereignty was marked by month-long celebrations and inspired a great deal of pride amongst the populace. However, in a commemorative article written for the Post Courier, Barnabas Orere reminded readers that, 'nothing dramatic happened when independence was declared ... Many people did not even know that PNG had become independent or what it meant'. For a sizeable proportion of inhabitants living beyond the ... read more.

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