Book Reviews

Nagaland by Ben Doherty

Reviewed by Norrie Sanders

The Indian subcontinent has been ploughing its way into Asia for the last 40 million years and has delivered the highest mountain range on earth. The eastern extremity of this mighty arc of rock shelters the tiny Indian state of Nagaland. For perhaps a millennium, the Naga people have lived astride the mountainous border of Burma and India. No-one knows where they migrated from, but their heritage has more in common with South East Asian tribes than those of India.

Despite the “Nagaland” title, there is no attempt to outdo Wikipedia with detail about the state … Read the rest

Napoleon: the Imperial Household by Sylvain Cordier

Reviewed by Ian Lipke

Perhaps it is my bourgeois roots that find the lush splendour of Napoleon Bonaparte’s imperial household somewhat sickening. That some way to compensate for the ruin that was France after the long years of revolution had to be found, cannot be denied, but viewing the ostentatious luxury within which one small segment of the French population bathed, seems an unfortunate way for a nation to recover. I think I prefer to remember Napoleon as the man who brought precision and order to the nation without the trappings.

But this is not to take away from the … Read the rest

The Grand Strategy of the Habsburg Empire by A. Wess Mitchell

Reviewed by Ian Lipke

We read these days of Big History, a study of the universe from a split-second after the Big Bang to the demise of the last Black Hole. That was a long, long time interval. In a different context we can view another long interval though measured on a different scale. The history of the Habsburg Empire from its foundations in 1700 through all the political machinations of non-member and member countries until the world war of 1914 – 18 caused a re-definition of boundaries, is a remarkable phenomenon. Frederick the Great could not destroy it, and … Read the rest

Sisters and Brothers by Fiona Palmer

Reviewed by Wendy Lipke

Fiona Palmer has made a name for herself as a rural romance writer. She has written nine bestselling novels and an earlier book Secrets Between Friends was a Top 5 best seller in 2017.  Her latest contribution Sisters and Brothers is not the usual type of romance. Set around Perth in Western Australia, the inspiring landscapes she is so known for are not as prominent in this novel but it is the down to earth characters which take central place. It is dedicated to family, in any shape or form.

This story is about four separate … Read the rest

84 K by Claire North

Reviewed by Dr Kathleen Huxley

This novel is a work of fiction written by a new voice in English Literature, Claire North. This name is a pseudonym for British author Catherine Webb who published previous, successful and acclaimed novels, ‘The first Fifteen Lives of Harry August’ and ‘Touch’ under the same nom de plume. In her day job Catherine works as a theatre lighting designer who is a fan of the urban magic of big cities. 84K is a work of dystopian literature that has been compared to Margaret Attwood’s The Handmaids Tale.

The novel begins and ends with … Read the rest

Russian Roulette by Michael Isikoff and David Corn

Reviewed by Rod McLary

The sub-title of this book is ‘The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump’ which is perhaps a slightly sensationalised indication of what the book is about.

Russian Roulette sets out to expose what the authors call ‘political skulduggery unprecedented in American history’.  It charts the intent of Vladimir Putin to reassert Russian strength in world politics and, at the same time, to spread information which could affect the outcome of the 2016 American election.

The origins of this ‘skulduggery’ are found back in 2013 when Donald Trump was in … Read the rest