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A new book expresses concern that the ‘average American’ has base knowledge so low that it is now plummeting to ‘aggressively wrong’. shutterstock

Book review: The Death of Expertise

Tom Nichols' book The Death of Expertise examines why the relationship between experts and citizens in a democracy is collapsing, and what can be done about it.
The Andromeda Galaxy, just part of a finely tuned universe. Flickr/NASA, ESA, J. Dalcanton, B.F. Williams, and L.C. Johnson (University of Washington), the PHAT team, and R. Gendler

Book review: Do we live in A Fortunate Universe?

A new book explores some of the big questions of why the universe exists and why it seems fine-tuned for life.
Are contemporary insults as witty as the scorn of the past? Ollyy/www.shutterstock.com

Review: the fine art of scorn from Twain to Trump

Scorn has a long and humorous history. But a new book on the subject, featuring quotes from Kanye West, Christopher Hitchens and of course, Donald Trump, rather lacks contemporary wit.
All to often, true crime books have glorified male violence and reproduced crude sexist stereotypes. Jari Schroderus

True crime interrogates toxic masculinity, at last

The genre that brought us the writings of Mark "Chopper" Read isn't known for its impeccable gender politics. But two new books cast a critical eye on a culture of male violence.
In a new book, former prime minister Paul Keating makes it clear that, from a young age, he was interested in power and the gaining of it. AAP/Daniel Munoz

Book review: Keating, by Kerry O'Brien

Kerry O'Brien has provided the platform for Paul Keating to define his political career, explain what drove his reform agenda and cement his position as one of Australia's greatest leaders.
One of Tony Abbott’s first acts on coming to office was to remove Martin Parkinson (left) as Treasury secretary. AAP/Saeed Khan

Review: Political Amnesia – How We Forgot How To Govern

Debate, serious discussion and deliberation are valued highly in a democracy not just for their own sake, but because they are considered essential to testing the quality of ideas and arguments.
What do we learn about Labor leader Bill Shorten from David Marr’s new Quarterly Essay? AAP/Andrew Brownbill

Review: Faction Man – Bill Shorten’s Path to Power

Faction Man is a product of Black Inc. From their perspective, Bill Shorten – and his fascination with grimy Labor machine politics – is an alien figure.
China is Australia’s most important trading partner and a growing source of investment. AAP/Lukas Coch

Book review: Takeover – Foreign Investment and the Australian Psyche

The “national interest”, at least as far as economic policy is concerned, has always been a contested compromise and a consequence of the relative political influence of domestic forces.
Electricity is only one of the marvels brought to us by science. But even that’s not enough to convince some of its value. Michael Wyszomierski/Flickr

What has science ever done for us? The Knowledge Wars, reviewed

Nobel Laureate Peter Doherty's new book explores why so many people today selectively reject science, and in the process gives a behind the scenes look at how science really works.
B.A. Santamaria (left) is the subject of a new biography by political commentator Gerard Henderson. Wikimedia Commons

Book review: Santamaria, A Most Unusual Man

Gerard Henderson has produced a rounded and at times fascinating portrait of B. A. Santamaria. His broad conclusion is that Santamaria was a compelling, skilled and persuasive man who was enormously devoted to his causes.

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