API Review of Books : Current Issue http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&Review=ALL&webpage=default Current Issue en-US Wed, 23 Oct 2013 12:00:00 +1000 Custom 2013 Not Happy, John: Defending Our Democracy (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4489 Did you hear the one about the barbeque invite list? Margo Kingston tells it that, in October 2003, Prime Minister John Howard hosted a private function at the Lodge at the public's expense. The guest of honour? George Bush, President of the United States. The stated purpose of the gathering? So that Bush -- in the midst of a rushed and highly ritualised visit to Australia -- would have a chance to meet and chew prawns with 'a cross-section of the Australian community who had each made a contribution to Australia in different ways'. The rub? Howard personally selected the invitees: a ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Eve Vincent
Did you hear the one about the barbeque invite list? Margo Kingston tells it that, in October 2003, Prime Minister John Howard hosted a private function at the Lodge at the public's expense. The guest of honour? George Bush, President of the United States. The stated purpose of the gathering? So that Bush -- in the midst of a rushed and highly ritualised visit to Australia -- would have a chance to meet and chew prawns with 'a cross-section of the Australian community who had each made a contribution to Australia in different ways'. The rub? Howard personally selected the invitees: a ...]]>
Donald Thomson in Arnhem Land (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4633 The fact must be stressed that the difference between a nomadic race with its peculiar and specialised adaptations and social obligations, and a gardening people, with an established village life, is more than a matter of environment, it depends on deeper factors, and has a definite psychological basis. (p118)These words capture both Donald Thomson's respect for Australia's indigenous people and his commitment to championing a way of life missionaries and government officials were bent on destroying. Donald Thomson, as readers of this handsome book ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Christine Cheater
The fact must be stressed that the difference between a nomadic race with its peculiar and specialised adaptations and social obligations, and a gardening people, with an established village life, is more than a matter of environment, it depends on deeper factors, and has a definite psychological basis. (p118)These words capture both Donald Thomson's respect for Australia's indigenous people and his commitment to championing a way of life missionaries and government officials were bent on destroying. Donald Thomson, as readers of this handsome book ...]]>
Fresh Cuttings (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4749 For many years University of Queensland Press (UQP) has played an active role in ensuring the publication of the writing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This has been achieved through two main initiatives. One is the David Unaipon Award. UQP established the award in 1988 for unpublished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. Named in honour of David Unaipon (1872-1967) who, in 1929, was the first Indigenous author to be published in Australia. The award is an annual literary competition for unpublished manuscripts in any writing genre or Indigenous language by an ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Maryrose Casey
For many years University of Queensland Press (UQP) has played an active role in ensuring the publication of the writing of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. This has been achieved through two main initiatives. One is the David Unaipon Award. UQP established the award in 1988 for unpublished Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander writers. Named in honour of David Unaipon (1872-1967) who, in 1929, was the first Indigenous author to be published in Australia. The award is an annual literary competition for unpublished manuscripts in any writing genre or Indigenous language by an ...]]>
Litigation: Past and Present (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4866 The legendary litigious character of American society is commonly regarded as an example to be avoided in Australia. The collapse of the private medical insurer, United Medical Protection, in 2001 prompted widespread media and political attention in Australia to what was described as a 'litigation crisis'. As Ted Wright and Angela Melville show in their lively treatment of civil litigation trends in this book, such a crisis was likely generated by something other than the trends in personal injury litigation in NSW which drifted downwards in the five years before the 'crisis'. In a phenomenon ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Mark Finnane
The legendary litigious character of American society is commonly regarded as an example to be avoided in Australia. The collapse of the private medical insurer, United Medical Protection, in 2001 prompted widespread media and political attention in Australia to what was described as a 'litigation crisis'. As Ted Wright and Angela Melville show in their lively treatment of civil litigation trends in this book, such a crisis was likely generated by something other than the trends in personal injury litigation in NSW which drifted downwards in the five years before the 'crisis'. In a phenomenon ...]]>
Lives in Limbo: Voices of Refugees Under Temporary Protection (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4875 In mid 2004, the Australian Government made two decisions that taken at face value, seemed to indicate a softening of policy towards asylum seekers. While previous governments had far from perfect records in relation to our responsibility to refugees, the Howard Government has been severely criticised for exploiting the plight of asylum seekers for political gain. The list of accusations is long but it includes: mandatory detention, turning vessels away, changing the nation's boundaries, compromising Pacific neighbours, contracting out responsibility for remote camps, denying media access to ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Tony Smith
In mid 2004, the Australian Government made two decisions that taken at face value, seemed to indicate a softening of policy towards asylum seekers. While previous governments had far from perfect records in relation to our responsibility to refugees, the Howard Government has been severely criticised for exploiting the plight of asylum seekers for political gain. The list of accusations is long but it includes: mandatory detention, turning vessels away, changing the nation's boundaries, compromising Pacific neighbours, contracting out responsibility for remote camps, denying media access to ...]]>
Boyack: Transactions (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4946 Transactions is Neil Boyack's first solo collection; his previous three collections, See Through, Black and Snakeskin/Vanilla, contained stories by Simon Colvey. Readers of Overland will be familiar with Boyack's recent work, as that journal published three of the stories in Transactions: 'Out to Sea', 'Retail -- A Documentary from the Inside', and 'The Football Star'. Critics have labelled Boyack's earlier work as 'Grunge', portraying him as a member of a movement including writers such as Andrew McGahan and Christos Tsiolkas. Although Boyack often ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Nathanael O'Reilly
Transactions is Neil Boyack's first solo collection; his previous three collections, See Through, Black and Snakeskin/Vanilla, contained stories by Simon Colvey. Readers of Overland will be familiar with Boyack's recent work, as that journal published three of the stories in Transactions: 'Out to Sea', 'Retail -- A Documentary from the Inside', and 'The Football Star'. Critics have labelled Boyack's earlier work as 'Grunge', portraying him as a member of a movement including writers such as Andrew McGahan and Christos Tsiolkas. Although Boyack often ...]]>
Caldera: Narrative Excursions (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4956 Caldera: narrative excursions is a finely produced selection of writings, theoretical and creative, and as the editors hope, with an 'excursive' approach to their subjects, digressing from the paths, ranging widely, inclined to stray and going beyond. Similar to the format of a little magazines and subtitled art culture literary theory fiction history memoir politics, the collection, we can hope, is the first of many such occasional publications. Caldera narrative excursions contains some real gems, intimate, vivid and finely crafted; most include some ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Deborah Jordan
Caldera: narrative excursions is a finely produced selection of writings, theoretical and creative, and as the editors hope, with an 'excursive' approach to their subjects, digressing from the paths, ranging widely, inclined to stray and going beyond. Similar to the format of a little magazines and subtitled art culture literary theory fiction history memoir politics, the collection, we can hope, is the first of many such occasional publications. Caldera narrative excursions contains some real gems, intimate, vivid and finely crafted; most include some ...]]>
Heart of the Matter: An Introduction to Eighteen South Australian Poets (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4972 South Australian poetry is, by some, considered insular. It has been criticised, at least verbally, for its supposedly limited perspective and its failure to break into interstate markets. It has often been said, in literary circles, that only other poets read it, attend performances and book launches, and only other poets buy collections of poetry published by South Australian poets. There is also the oft aired complaint that it is impossible to get poetry reviewed or published in The Advertiser. Such comments give the impression that things are rather bleak for the poetry scene in ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Debra Zott
South Australian poetry is, by some, considered insular. It has been criticised, at least verbally, for its supposedly limited perspective and its failure to break into interstate markets. It has often been said, in literary circles, that only other poets read it, attend performances and book launches, and only other poets buy collections of poetry published by South Australian poets. There is also the oft aired complaint that it is impossible to get poetry reviewed or published in The Advertiser. Such comments give the impression that things are rather bleak for the poetry scene in ...]]>
Shadow Selves (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=4993 In his 1967 essay 'Words and Experience', English poet Ted Hughes highlights the limitations of language in general, and poetry in particular, in representing the complexities of human experiences. He begins by saying that words are inadequate tools, 'learned late and laboriously and easily forgotten' and, to overcome these shortcomings, he draws on a number of psychoanalytical perspectives -- primarily Jungian -- to conclude that 'occasionally ... just for a brief moment' the poet can, almost accidentally it seems, find the words that actually succeed in capturing and reanimating the 'spirit' ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Ali Alizadeh
In his 1967 essay 'Words and Experience', English poet Ted Hughes highlights the limitations of language in general, and poetry in particular, in representing the complexities of human experiences. He begins by saying that words are inadequate tools, 'learned late and laboriously and easily forgotten' and, to overcome these shortcomings, he draws on a number of psychoanalytical perspectives -- primarily Jungian -- to conclude that 'occasionally ... just for a brief moment' the poet can, almost accidentally it seems, find the words that actually succeed in capturing and reanimating the 'spirit' ...]]>
Isabel Flick: The Many Lives of an Extraordinary Aboriginal Woman (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5041 I said to this old fella at the ticket box, 'Take these ropes off! Our money is as good as anyone else's and we want to sit where we want to sit'. Part of the often little known history of Australia's racist practices is the story of restrictions on Indigenous Australian people's access to public venues such as swimming pools and cinemas. It would be incredible now to go to the movies and see a section of the cinema roped off and Aboriginal people actively prevented from sitting in any other part of the theatre. Many aspects of the struggles ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Maryrose Casey
I said to this old fella at the ticket box, 'Take these ropes off! Our money is as good as anyone else's and we want to sit where we want to sit'. Part of the often little known history of Australia's racist practices is the story of restrictions on Indigenous Australian people's access to public venues such as swimming pools and cinemas. It would be incredible now to go to the movies and see a section of the cinema roped off and Aboriginal people actively prevented from sitting in any other part of the theatre. Many aspects of the struggles ...]]>
Imagining Australia: Ideas for our Future (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5056 Imagining Australia is a wide-ranging, ambitious and fascinating critique of Australian public policy and a manifesto of reform proposals to transform Australia into 'the quintessential twenty-first century nation'. It arrives at an interesting time in politics, when eight years of Coalition rule have entrenched conservatives in the most influential public positions in Australia and where there is a good chance that the country will see a change of government in the coming months. The contemporary political climate is dominated by divisive views on foreign affairs, immigration, the ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Kris Brankovic
Imagining Australia is a wide-ranging, ambitious and fascinating critique of Australian public policy and a manifesto of reform proposals to transform Australia into 'the quintessential twenty-first century nation'. It arrives at an interesting time in politics, when eight years of Coalition rule have entrenched conservatives in the most influential public positions in Australia and where there is a good chance that the country will see a change of government in the coming months. The contemporary political climate is dominated by divisive views on foreign affairs, immigration, the ...]]>
Drums and Bonnets (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5095 Miriel Lenore's fourth collection of poetry, drums & bonnets, documents both the life of Lenore's maternal great-grandmother Lizzie, who emigrated from Northern Ireland to Australia in 1853, and Lenore's travels in search of a deeper knowledge of her ancestor. Lenore has created sixty-eight poems based on the scant biographical details of her great-grandmother's life, her own travels in Northern Ireland and the Ballarat area, and used her imagination to fill many of the gaps in Lizzie's life-story. In drums & bonnets, Lenore is concerned as much with her own story as that of her ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Nathanael O'Reilly
Miriel Lenore's fourth collection of poetry, drums & bonnets, documents both the life of Lenore's maternal great-grandmother Lizzie, who emigrated from Northern Ireland to Australia in 1853, and Lenore's travels in search of a deeper knowledge of her ancestor. Lenore has created sixty-eight poems based on the scant biographical details of her great-grandmother's life, her own travels in Northern Ireland and the Ballarat area, and used her imagination to fill many of the gaps in Lizzie's life-story. In drums & bonnets, Lenore is concerned as much with her own story as that of her ...]]>
Busted Out Laughing: Dot Collard's Story (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5262 Some stories need to be told and told again, because to forget would be as great an injustice as those at the root of these stories. Dot Collard's Busted Out Laughing spans some eighty years of Indigenous-white relations from the author's birth in 1922 until the present. It was recalled and recounted through anecdote and historical records and told to Beryl Hackner, a white South African woman. From loss of cultural identity and family trauma to growing awareness and the establishment of some form of place in white society, racism taints the picture, and laughter softens the blows. Or ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Anne Ryden
Some stories need to be told and told again, because to forget would be as great an injustice as those at the root of these stories. Dot Collard's Busted Out Laughing spans some eighty years of Indigenous-white relations from the author's birth in 1922 until the present. It was recalled and recounted through anecdote and historical records and told to Beryl Hackner, a white South African woman. From loss of cultural identity and family trauma to growing awareness and the establishment of some form of place in white society, racism taints the picture, and laughter softens the blows. Or ...]]>
Days Gone By: Growing Up in Penang (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5317 Set in Penang island, on the north-west coast of the Malay peninsular former British colony and part of the Straits Settlements, Days Gone By recalls the lifestyles and fortunes of four generations of a Hakka Chinese family whose presence in Malaya began with the migration of the author's great grandfather, Leong Fee alias Leong Pi Joo (Kong Tai to the author) from Kwungtung Province in China to Malaya in 1876. Leong Fee was among the thousands of impoverished labourers who streamed out of China at that time seeking a better life for themselves or a way to support the impoverished ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Christine Choo
Set in Penang island, on the north-west coast of the Malay peninsular former British colony and part of the Straits Settlements, Days Gone By recalls the lifestyles and fortunes of four generations of a Hakka Chinese family whose presence in Malaya began with the migration of the author's great grandfather, Leong Fee alias Leong Pi Joo (Kong Tai to the author) from Kwungtung Province in China to Malaya in 1876. Leong Fee was among the thousands of impoverished labourers who streamed out of China at that time seeking a better life for themselves or a way to support the impoverished ...]]>
From the Mountains to the Bush: Italian Migrants Write Home from Australia, 1860-1962 (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5337 Jackie Templeton was a student, tutor and academic in the History Department at the University of Melbourne for well over half her life, entering as a student in 1952 and retiring at the end of 1999. An extraordinarily warm and humane person, Jackie was never one of the most productive members of the Department in terms of her research output. She was, however, a much appreciated teacher and a fondly-regarded and respected colleague. She was also obsessed, for much of the latter part of her career, with Italian migration to Australia, and was gradually working her way towards her ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Martin Crotty
Jackie Templeton was a student, tutor and academic in the History Department at the University of Melbourne for well over half her life, entering as a student in 1952 and retiring at the end of 1999. An extraordinarily warm and humane person, Jackie was never one of the most productive members of the Department in terms of her research output. She was, however, a much appreciated teacher and a fondly-regarded and respected colleague. She was also obsessed, for much of the latter part of her career, with Italian migration to Australia, and was gradually working her way towards her ...]]>
Reform and Resistance in Aboriginal Education: The Australian Experience (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5338 This publication makes a worthwhile contribution to the on-going dilemma confronting many Australian educators -- how to change Aboriginal Australian perspectives regarding the value of mainstream education. In particular this book focuses on 'the most important education issue for Aboriginal people: their relationship to the State school system during the compulsory years of schooling'. (2003:7) While acknowledging the diversity of the Aboriginal experience, hence the complexity of the issues that have impacted upon individual and collective educational experiences, the editors have drawn on ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Jeannie Herbert
This publication makes a worthwhile contribution to the on-going dilemma confronting many Australian educators -- how to change Aboriginal Australian perspectives regarding the value of mainstream education. In particular this book focuses on 'the most important education issue for Aboriginal people: their relationship to the State school system during the compulsory years of schooling'. (2003:7) While acknowledging the diversity of the Aboriginal experience, hence the complexity of the issues that have impacted upon individual and collective educational experiences, the editors have drawn on ...]]>
The People Next Door: Understanding Indonesia (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5339 The Indonesian way is not ours. But it deserves respect, is worth the study, and calls for understanding.In the wake of the bomb attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, a varied collection of thoughts come to mind. A decade ago I reviewed Ratih Hardjono's White Tribe of Asia: An Indonesian View of Australia. This was at a time of Gareth Evans and Paul Keating inspired euphoria for Australia's (apparently) new found relationship with Asia. The Ingleson Review on Asia in Australian Education and the Garnaut Report on regional economies ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Richard Gehrmann
The Indonesian way is not ours. But it deserves respect, is worth the study, and calls for understanding.In the wake of the bomb attack on the Australian Embassy in Jakarta, a varied collection of thoughts come to mind. A decade ago I reviewed Ratih Hardjono's White Tribe of Asia: An Indonesian View of Australia. This was at a time of Gareth Evans and Paul Keating inspired euphoria for Australia's (apparently) new found relationship with Asia. The Ingleson Review on Asia in Australian Education and the Garnaut Report on regional economies ...]]>
Toccata and Rain (2004) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5366 Philip Salom, best known for having authored nine collections of poetry, first tackled the novel genre in 2001 with Playback, a subtle mystery novel with which Toccata and Rain has a lot to share -- such as sex scenes galore, guilty secrets, and a narrative of poetic bent. Toccata and Rain tells the story of a forty-eight-year-old eccentric, referred to as Simon, who has built two Freudian 'gaudy and metallic beauties' (p 8) towering over eight meters high in a Melbournian backyard. Becoming an object of curiosity at the heart of a controversy, media coverage of ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Jean-François Vernay
Philip Salom, best known for having authored nine collections of poetry, first tackled the novel genre in 2001 with Playback, a subtle mystery novel with which Toccata and Rain has a lot to share -- such as sex scenes galore, guilty secrets, and a narrative of poetic bent. Toccata and Rain tells the story of a forty-eight-year-old eccentric, referred to as Simon, who has built two Freudian 'gaudy and metallic beauties' (p 8) towering over eight meters high in a Melbournian backyard. Becoming an object of curiosity at the heart of a controversy, media coverage of ...]]>
Ngarla Songs (2003) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5373 As I compose this review, I am sitting beneath the shade of tall Red gums flanking the De Grey River in what Alexander ('Sandy') Brown has described to me as the heartland of Ngarla country. Sandy was born near here in 1930. He grew up working on De Grey pastoral station, listening and learning from the Ngarla men and women who, as well as being engaged as general station hands and pearl shell gatherers, shepherded, sheared, scoured, mustered, fenced, and cooked for the 'whitefella' managers. I have worked with Sandy Brown for a number of years researching the Ngarla people's native ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Nicholas Smith
As I compose this review, I am sitting beneath the shade of tall Red gums flanking the De Grey River in what Alexander ('Sandy') Brown has described to me as the heartland of Ngarla country. Sandy was born near here in 1930. He grew up working on De Grey pastoral station, listening and learning from the Ngarla men and women who, as well as being engaged as general station hands and pearl shell gatherers, shepherded, sheared, scoured, mustered, fenced, and cooked for the 'whitefella' managers. I have worked with Sandy Brown for a number of years researching the Ngarla people's native ...]]>
The Blue Mansion (2002) http://www.api-network.com/main/index.php?apply=reviews&webpage=default&Review=5438 The mansion of Cheong Fatt Tze located in Leith Street, Penang, was built at the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and embodied the best of Eastern and Western influences in a colonial environment. It was his favourite home built for his favourite consort, his seventh wife, and is said to have outstripped all his other homes in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore, in beauty, refinement and architectural interest. The Blue Mansion records in beautiful colour and presentation, the story of Cheong Fatt Tze, the architecture and history of the mansion and the successful ... Tue, 22 Oct 2013 00:00:00 +1000 image Reviewed by Christine Choo
The mansion of Cheong Fatt Tze located in Leith Street, Penang, was built at the cusp of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and embodied the best of Eastern and Western influences in a colonial environment. It was his favourite home built for his favourite consort, his seventh wife, and is said to have outstripped all his other homes in China, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore, in beauty, refinement and architectural interest. The Blue Mansion records in beautiful colour and presentation, the story of Cheong Fatt Tze, the architecture and history of the mansion and the successful ...]]>