Let’s talk about books: 3 non-fiction books by Australian authors


This week, Jeff Popple reviews three topical non-fiction books by Australian authors. More of Jeff’s reviews can be found on his blog: murdermayhemandlongdogs.com

keep them honest by Stephen Charles and Catherine Williams

Scribe, $32.99

Over the past few years, there have been a plethora of reasons why a federal integrity commission is needed. Sports Rorts, Carpark Rorts, ethical lapses by federal politicians and the most recent lopsided road improvement grants have all contributed to undermining confidence in our democratic political system. As former judge Stephen Charles and academic Catherine Williams argue convincingly in keep them honest, it is high time to have a real integrity commission. In readable prose, they establish the case for scrutiny of our politicians and expose the dark side of political donors, lobbyists and unchecked election spending. A timely and important book.

The secret of the emu field by Elizabeth Tynan

NewSouth, $34.99

Britain’s nuclear tests at Maralinga still cast a dark cloud over Australia amid ongoing contamination allegations. Maralinga, however, was not the only test site, and in her outstanding book Elizabeth Tynan lifts the lid on what happened at the larger Emu Field site. In clear detail, she describes what is known about the tests there and the high level of secrecy that still surrounds them. She also discusses the British’s “no contempt” attitude towards the local indigenous peoples and the failure of the Menzies government to care for them. A fascinating and well-documented historical account.

Disappeared, presumed dead by Mark Tedeschi QC

Simon & Schuster, $34.99

The best true crime books have always had a strong concern for the victims of the crimes they cover, and that’s certainly the case with Mark Tedeschi. Disappeared, presumed dead. Tedeschi was the prosecutor who handled the trial of Bruce Burrell for the murders of Dorothy Davis and Kerry Whalan, and his account of the complex police investigation makes for engrossing reading. His
the behind-the-scenes of the investigation and the trial, as well as his reflections after the trial, are interesting and moving. An advocate for victims of crime, Tedeschi also paints a moving portrait of Dorothy and Kerry. An exceptional true crime book.

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