The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

AS men­tioned at the out­set, Peter FitzSi­mons has a new book, Eureka: The Un­fin­ished Rev­o­lu­tion, about one of Aus­tralia’s most cher­ished but per­haps not well un­der­stood sto­ries. War­ren Brown’s rip­ping Fran­cis Bir­tles: Aus­tralian Ad­ven­turer res­ur­rects a won­der­ful Aus­tralian dare­devil and rogue. If you are look­ing for a one-vol­ume his­tory of the great con­fla­gra­tion of 1939-45, it’s hard to go past Antony Beevor’s The Sec­ond World War. Sonke Neitzel and Har­ald Wel­szer’s Sol­daten (Sol­diers), based on tran­scripts of se­cret record­ings of Ger­man pris­on­ers of war, chal­lenges the idea that or­di­nary Ger­man sol­diers did not take part in the sort of atroc­i­ties we as­so­ciate with the Nazis. Chris Masters’s study of the mod­ern Aus­tralian sol­dier, Un­com­mon Sol­dier, should be read by any­one in­ter­ested in un­der­stand­ing our mil­i­tary cul­ture and the men and women who serve in the armed forces. Mark McKenna’s bi­og­ra­phy of Man­ning Clark, An Eye for Eternity, was pub­lished last year but has been the non­fic­tion book of the year, win­ning sev­eral awards. Kather­ine Boo’s Be­hind the Beau­ti­ful Fore­vers is liv­ing his­tory, a re­mark­able work of nar­ra­tive non­fic­tion that takes us into the lives and hopes of peo­ple strug­gling to sur­vive in a Mum­bai slum.

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