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Analysis and Comment (27)

A 9-metre-long early relative of T rex that stalked the Early Cretaceous of northern China was the first truly terrifying feathered dinosaur discovered. Brian Choo

Book review: Flying Dinosaurs – How fearsome reptiles became birds

While a week can be a long time in politics, palaeontology typically moves more sedately, in keeping with its subject matter (the slow progression of the aeons). But one area of fossil research is seeing…
A new book on the battle of Fromelles adds to both what we know and how we should be wary of the battle’s popular legend. AAP/Christopher James

Book review: The Lost Legions of Fromelles

Almost exactly 98 years ago, the Fromelles legend goes, the 5th Australian Division was thrown into battle by stupid British generals and slaughtered. Overnight, 5500 men were killed or wounded: supposedly…
Let’s not underestimate the intellectual goodwill that sustains our literary culture. Antoine Robiez

In defence of book reviewers in Australia

Book reviewers and the editors of periodicals that commission them are used to sour assessments of their worth, but Professor John Dale’s article on The Conversation yesterday is in a class of its own…
We all know a good review when we read one – but what actually differentiates a good review from a bad one? Hartwig HKD

Here they are: the rules for book reviewing

Good book reviews are all alike while every bad review is bad in its own way. In Australia reviews are often bad in many different ways. Historically the trade has consisted of retired English academics…
You can still fish for fun in Sydney Harbour, but there are rules for how much fish your should eat because past tests have shown elevated levels of dioxins in fish and crustaceans. Peter Hindmarsh/Flickr

Book review: Poisoned Planet

The World Health Organization estimates that one in every 12 deaths worldwide is due to chemical exposure, sometimes acute but mostly chronic. This eclipses the annual death tolls from malaria, car crashes…
Malcolm Fraser’s new book, Dangerous Allies, is one of the most original and timely contributions to Australia’s foreign policy debate, which tends to be sterile and predictable. AAP/Luis Enrique Ascui

Book review: Dangerous Allies by Malcolm Fraser

Malcolm Fraser occupies a rather unique place in Australia as someone who has, at different times, managed to incense both ends of the political spectrum. If nothing else this is indicative of someone…
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch may still bestride the world like a colossus, but the world is shifting under his feet. AAP/Dan Himbrechts

Book review: Rupert Murdoch – A Reassessment

In the late 1980s, shortly after Rupert Murdoch’s News Ltd had swallowed the Herald and Weekly Times to become the print media behemoth that it is today, I found myself working on the subeditors’ table…
A new book argues for an ambitious rethinking of how journalists are trained, arguing universities should aim to create ‘knowledge journalists’ with deep specialist areas of expertise. Sean Savage

Book review: Informing the News – The Need for Knowledge-Based Journalism

Journalists and their editors can be rude about schools of journalism. When Columbia University cut its journalism program from two years to one year, the New York Daily News called it “a step in the right…
Read on for some notable children’s books from the year gone by. San José Library

Tales of mystery and the mundane: children’s books in 2013

What makes a children’s book compelling? Is it a driving, action-centred plot that forces us to turn the page? Is it a puzzle that we solve from clues thrown down by the narrator – or is it a story that…
Murdoch’s World, by David Folkenflik, looks back at the scandal that beset Rupert Murdoch’s business empire. EPA/Drew Angerer

Review: Murdoch’s World – the last of the old media empires

The eruption of the News International phone hacking scandal has caused significant problems for Rupert Murdoch and his business empire. It forced him to close his big money spinner, News of the World…
Joan Beaumont’s new book Broken Nation: Australians in the Great War provides a strong insight into both Australia’s role in World War One and life on the home front. Australian War Memorial

Book review: Broken Nation – Australians in the Great War

Over the next four years, the centenary of World War One will prompt the publication of a vast number of war-related books. In Australia, it will be hard to keep count of the new books on Gallipoli, with…
In a new book, former Labor leader Mark Latham and other prominent party figures attempt to diagnose the party’s malaise. AAP/Alan Porritt

Book review: Not Dead Yet - What Future for Labor?

It is a sign of Labor’s crisis that Mark Latham, the party’s former parliamentary leader, has been re-admitted to polite centre-Left company. For his book Not Dead Yet: What Future for Labor?, Latham has…
Goodbye? The Z.E.R.O. model says its now possible to effectively market your product without paid advertising. But perhaps it’s too good to be true. Flickr/Christian Montone

Get ready to ditch the advertising budget? Not quite

The way we live, interact and consume has changed dramatically with the shift towards internet and mobile telecommunications technology. And yet large amounts of money are still regularly spent on traditional…
Rachel Buchanan’s Stop Press is the latest addition to the growing list of publications about the death of newspapers and the transition to digital journalism. AAP/Dean Lewins

Stop Press: we need to save journalism, not newspapers

Rachel Buchanan’s new book Stop Press: The Last Days of Newspapers is part of what independent publishing house Scribe calls the “Media Chronicles”: A series of first-person accounts about the dramatic…
Media mogul Rupert Murdoch on his ‘most humble day’ before a British parliamentary inquiry into phone hacking. Paul Barry’s new book delivers an insight into his rise and recent troubles. EPA/Press Association

Book review: Breaking News – Sex, Lies & the Murdoch Succession

The best lines in investigative journalist Paul Barry’s new book - Breaking News: Sex, Lies & the Murdoch Succession - are supplied by Lord Conrad Black of Crossharbour, that connoisseur of corporate…
Coal has become part of Australia’s economic landscape, and questioning it is difficult. Bill Collison

Book review: Big Coal

Burning coal is the one of the main sources of greenhouse gases, but mining expansion continues apace in Australia. Given the all-but unqualified support of federal and state governments for new mining…
In his new book, activist and author Dennis Altman takes a look at how far the global gay liberation movement has come since events such as the Stonewall riots in New York. New York Daily News

The End of the Homosexual?

In a recent speech celebrating 30 years of the Victorian AIDS Council, Adam Carr, one of its founders who went onto pursue a PhD in history, made the point that: …not many people get to make history in…
Treasurer Chris Bowen needs voters to put a 1 next to his party on the ballot in the upcoming election. Will his new book help win the political argument? AAP/Dean Lewins

Chris Bowen’s plan to win hearts and minds and save Labor

Treasurer Chris Bowen’s new blueprint for Labor party reform Hearts and Minds gives us the easy listening version of Paul Keating, just as Tony Abbott offers us the same for John Howard. The book provides…
It’s steady as she goes in Australia’s universities according to a new book on the changing dynamics in higher education. Higher education image from www.shutterstock.com

High stakes in higher ed? Campus evolution more likely than revolution

Writing books on fast-evolving topics is a hazardous business. The news can easily overtake a slow-moving publisher’s schedule. Fortunately for Peter Coaldrake and Lawrence Stedman’s new book on higher…
Every Parent’s Nightmare tells the true story of Australian Jock Palfreeman, caught in Bulgaria’s corrupt legal system. ABC TV/AAP

The case of Jock Palfreeman and the human rights of Australians overseas

Australians running into trouble with the law overseas is a common topic in the news. The coverage is usually fleeting, ending with the announcement of a conviction or, less often, an acquittal. Belinda…
Ben Goldacre spreading the news at the Free University of Glastonbury, June 2011. Neil Melville-Kenney

Peer review: Bad Pharma by Ben Goldacre

The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published a poll in late-October 2012 asking, “Who is mainly at fault for denying access to negative clinical trial results?” Respondents were able to choose from a list…
Mear’s novel is “a love story about horses as much as anything else”. Eduardo Amorim

Art imitating life in the outback: Gillian Mears' Foal’s Bread

MILES FRANKLIN REVIEW: The winner of the 2012 Miles Franklin Award will be announced this week. In preparation, The Conversation brings you academic reviews of the five novels shortlisted for Australia’s…
The days of ‘sit down, shut up and do your science’ are over. Today’s students ask hard questions. University of Iowa

Teaching kids to think critically about climate

Two recently published books suggest that the public - and school children in particular - are being fed lies about environmental issues such as climate change. The books - “How to Get Expelled from School…