Top Picks - Non-Fiction

Vesper Flights

$35.00

From the bestselling author of H is for Hawk comes a transcendent collection of essays about the natural world

Animals don’t exist to teach us things, but that is what they have always done, and most of what they teach us is what we think we know about ourselves.

Helen Macdonald brings together a collection of her best-loved writing along with new pieces covering a thrilling range of subjects. There are essays here on headaches, on catching swans, on hunting mushrooms, on twentieth-century spies, on numinous experiences and high-rise buildings; on nests and wild pigs and the tribulations of farming ostriches. Vesper Flights is a book about observation, fascination, time, memory, love and loss and how we make the world around us. Moving and frank, personal and political, it confirms Helen Macdonald as one of this century’s greatest nature writers.

Vivienne Westwood Catwalk

$110.00

One of the most thought-provoking and influential designers in the world – she once declared ‘the only reason I’m in fashion is to destroy the word “conformity”‘ – Vivienne Westwood has been reinventing, changing and challenging the world of fashion for over five decades.

Celebrating 40 years of catwalk collections, this book records the inimitable creations imagined by Vivienne Westwood since her first runway show in 1981, as well as those designed by her husband and long-time collaborator, Andreas Kronthaler. Complete with an introduction and collection texts by Alexander Fury, and biographies written by the designers themselves, Vivienne Westwood Catwalk offers a rare opportunity to chart the development of a uniquely creative fashion house.

After Chanel, Dior, Louis Vuitton, Yves Saint Laurent and Prada, Vivienne Westwood – publishing in Spring 2021 – is the sixth new volume in the best-selling Catwalk series, which offers an unrivalled overview of the collections of the world’s top fashion houses through original catwalk photography.

We See It All

$32.99

What are citizens of a free country willing to tolerate in the name of public safety?

Jon Fasman journeys from the US to London — one of the most heavily surveilled cities on earth — to China and beyond, to expose the legal, political, and moral issues surrounding how the state uses surveillance technology.

Automatic licence-plate readers allow police to amass a granular record of where people go, when, and for how long. Drones give the state eyes — and possibly weapons — in the skies. Algorithms purport to predict where and when crime will occur, and how big a risk a suspect has of reoffending. Specially designed tools can crack a device’s encryption keys, rending all privacy protections useless. And facial recognition technology poses perhaps a more dire and lasting threat than any other form of surveillance.

Jon Fasman examines how these technologies help police do their jobs, and what their use means for our privacy rights and civil liberties, exploring vital questions, such as: Should we expect to be tracked and filmed whenever we leave our homes? Should the state have access to all of the data we generate? Should private companies? What might happen if all of these technologies are combined and put in the hands of a government with scant regard for its citizens’ civil liberties?

Through on-the-ground reporting and vivid storytelling, Fasman explores one of the most urgent issues of our time.

What is to be Done

$35.00

A follow-up to the author’s prescient bestseller, first published in 1982, that alerted the public to the likely impacts of information technologies and the emergence of a post-industrial society.

When Sleepers, Wake! was released in Australia, it immediately became influential around the world: it was read by Deng Xiaoping and Bill Gates; was published in China, Japan, South Korea, and Sweden; and led to the author being the first Australian minister invited to address a G-7 summit meeting, held in Canada in 1985.

Now its author, the polymath and former politician Barry Jones, turns his attention to what has happened since — especially to politics, health, and our climate in the digital age — and to the challenges faced by increasingly fragile democracies and public institutions.

Jones sees climate change as the greatest problem of our time, but political leaders have proved incapable of dealing with complex, long-term issues of such magnitude. The Trump phenomenon overturns the whole concept of critical thinking and analysis. Meanwhile, technologies such as the smartphone and the ubiquity of social media have reinforced the realm of the personal. This has weakened our sense of, or empathy with, ‘the other’, the remote, and the unfamiliar, and all but destroyed our sense of community, of being members of broad, inclusive groups. The COVID-19 threat, which was immediate, and personal, showed that some leaders could respond courageously, while others denied the evidence.

In the post-truth era, politicians invent ‘facts’ and ignore or deny the obvious, while business and the media are obsessed with marketing and consumption for the short term. What Is to Be Done is a long-awaited work from Jones on the challenges of modernity and what must be done to meet them.

What the Colonists Never Knew

$35.00

What the Colonists Never Knew paints a vivid picture of what it was like to grow up Aboriginal in Sydney, alongside the colonists, from 1788 to the present.

Dennis, the grandson ofClarice Malinda Lougher, the last practising matriarch of the Gai-mariagal clan, was immersed in cultural knowledge and lore from an early age.Through his eyes we see a Sydney of totemic landscapes resonating with ceremonial sites and ancestral activity, song-lines and walking tracks, habitat caves and middens, and share memories of what has been lost.

At Narrabeen camp in the 1950s we meet Uncle Willie de Serve, a man who wore the scarifications of his ritual life and mentored the young Dennis. ‘His face was alive with a thousand stories.’

Dennis also introduces us to Nanna Watson, who lived in a little humpy at Car-rang gel (North Head). ‘On a hot summer’s afternoon, she would hitch her dress up round her knees and wriggle around in the sand to get a couple of ugaries (pipis), chew one up and spit it into the water and put the other one on the line, and before you knew it she’d have a big whiting or a bream.’

Through the stories so generously told we may reflect on what it means to be a stolen child and one of the ‘silent generations’, and to fight to safeguard culture and identity. We can sense the responsibility of being the senior Gai-mariagal and the last of the storytellers, and the urgency to document and share the knowledge bestowed on him by generations of his family.

Why The Germans Do It Better

$29.99

A provocative and entertaining exploration of the country that Britons love to hate by one of our most respected journalists.

Emerging from a collection of disparate city states 150 years ago, no other country has had as turbulent a history as Germany or enjoyed so much prosperity in such a short time frame. Today, as much of the world succumbs to authoritarianism and democracy is undermined from its heart, Germany stands as a bulwark for decency and stability.

Mixing personal journey and anecdote with compelling empirical evidence, this is a searching and entertaining exploration of the country many in the West still love to hate. Raising important questions for our post-Brexit landscape, Kampfner asks why Germany has become a model for others to emulate, while Britain still languishes in wartime nostalgia and fails to tackle contemporary challenges. Part memoir, part history, part travelogue, Why the Germans Do It Better is a rich and witty portrait of an eternally fascinating country.

Women and Leadership

$34.99

As a result of their broad experience on the world stage in politics, economics and global not-for-profits, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and Julia Gillard have some strong ideas about the impact of gender on the treatment of leaders. Women and Leadership takes a consistent and comprehensive approach to teasing out what is different for women who lead.

Almost every year new findings are published about the way people see women leaders compared with their male counterparts. The authors have taken that academic work and tested it in the real world. The same set of interview questions were put to each leader in frank face-to-face interviews. Their responses were then used to examine each woman’s journey in leadership and whether their lived experiences were in line with or different from what the research would predict.

Women and Leadership presents a lively and readable analysis of the influence of gender on women’s access to positions of leadership, the perceptions of them as leaders, the trajectory of their leadership and the circumstances in which it comes to an end. By presenting the lessons that can be learned from women leaders, Julia and Ngozi provide a road map of essential knowledge to inspire us all, and an action agenda for change that allows women to take control and combat gender bias.

Featuring Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Clinton, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Theresa May, Michelle Bachelet, Joyce Banda, Erna Solberg, Christine Lagarde and more.

Xi’an Famous Foods

$49.99

A collection of 100 recipes and stories from Xi’an Famous Foods, the iconic New York restaurant and mostwell-known purveyor of Western Chinese cuisine in America.

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