Non-fiction

The Truth Hurts

$32.99

Criminal justice systems are not designed to seek the truth. In places like Australia, court proceedings remain an adversarial blood sport at times distorted by smoke and mirrors or failed by individual shortcomings. Navigating it is difficult and uncertain for any one of us but more so if you are poor, not white – or not white enough – not a straight male or have no formal education. Simply put, the most vulnerable among us are unfairly exposed to unjust outcomes.

Drawing on his experiences as a child of Burmese migrants fleeing a military junta and his evolution from a naive law clerk, too shy to speak, into a lawyer whose ponytailed flamboyance and unbridled willingness to speak truth to power riled many within the legal establishment, Andrew Boe delves into cases he found unable to leave behind. These cases have shaped who he has become. Taking us from a case of traditional punishment gone wrong in the Gibson Desert to deaths in police custody on Palm Island and in Yuendumu in the Northern Territory – places where race relations are often stalled in a colonial time warp – to an isolated rural home, and the question of what is self-defence after decades of domestic abuse; to cases of children abandoned, ‘stolen’ and then fought over; and into prison interview rooms and courthouses around the country where Boe defended serial killers, rapists, child sex offenders, murderers as well as the odd politician – he holds fast to the premise that either every one of us is entitled to the presumption of innocence or none of us are.

Enemy of All Mankind

$32.99

“Most confrontations, viewed from the wide angle of history, are minor disputes, sparks that quickly die out. But every now and then, someone strikes a match that lights up the whole planet.”

Henry Every was the seventeenth century’s most notorious pirate. The press published wildly popular—and wildly inaccurate—reports of his nefarious adventures. The British government offered enormous bounties for his capture, alive or (preferably) dead. But Steven Johnson argues that Every’s most lasting legacy was his inadvertent triggering of a major shift in the global economy. Enemy of All Mankind focuses on one key event—the attack on an Indian treasure ship by Every and his crew—and its surprising repercussions across time and space. It’s the gripping tale one of the most lucrative crimes in history, the first international manhunt, and the trial of the seventeenth century.

Johnson uses the extraordinary story of Henry Every and his crimes to explore the emergence of the East India Company, the British Empire, and the modern global marketplace: a densely interconnected planet ruled by nations and corporations. How did this unlikely pirate and his notorious crime end up playing a key role in the birth of multinational capitalism? In the same mode as Johnson’s classic historical thriller The Ghost Map, Enemy of All Mankind deftly traces the path from a single struck match to a global conflagration.

The Carbon Club

$32.99

View Roaring Stories event with Marian Wilkinson

As the climate crisis threatens more extreme bushfire seasons, droughts and floods, many Australians are demanding their leaders answer the question: ‘Why didn’t you do something?’ The Carbon Club reveals the truth behind Australia’s two decades of climate inaction. It’s the story of how a loose confederation of influential climate-science sceptics, politicians and business leaders sought to control Australia’s response to the climate crisis. They shared a fear that dealing with climate change would undermine the nation’s wealth, jobs and competitive advantage – and the power of the carbon club. Central to their strategy was an international campaign to undermine climate science and the urgency of the climate crisis. The more the climate science was questioned, the more politicians lost the imperative to act.
The sustained success of the carbon club over two decades explains why Australian governments failed to deal with the challenge of climate change. But at what cost to us and the next generation? One of Australia’s most respected investigative journalists, Marian Wilkinson has tracked the rise and rise of Australia’s carbon club in brilliant detail, with extraordinary access to key players on all sides. The result is a book that is both essential and disturbing reading.

The Palace Letters

$32.99

Published: 2 November 2020

What role did the queen play in the governor-general Sir John Kerr’s plans to dismiss prime minister Gough Whitlam in 1975, which unleashed one of the most divisive episodes in Australia’s political history? And why weren’t we told?

Under the cover of being designated as private correspondence, the letters between the queen and the governor-general about the dismissal have been locked away for decades in the National Archives of Australia, and embargoed by the queen potentially forever. This ruse has furthered the fiction that the queen and the Palace had no warning of or role in Kerr’s actions.

In the face of this, Professor Jenny Hocking embarked on a four-year legal battle to force the Archives to release the letters. In 2015, she mounted a crowd-funded campaign, securing a stellar pro bono team that took her case all the way to the High Court of Australia.

Now, drawing on never-before-published material from Kerr’s archives and her submissions to the court, Hocking traces the collusion and deception behind the dismissal, and charts the private role of High Court judges, the queen’s private secretary, and the leader of the opposition, Malcolm Fraser, in Kerr’s actions, and the prior knowledge of the queen and Prince Charles.

Hocking also reveals the obstruction, intrigue, and duplicity she faced, raising disturbing questions about the role of the National Archives in preventing access to its own historical material and in enforcing royal secrecy over its documents.

Moonlite

$34.99

A gay bushranger with a love of poetry and guns. A grotesque hangman with a passion for flowers and gardening. A broken young man desperate for love and respect. These men – two of them lovers – are about to bring the era ofAustralia’s outlaws to a torrid and bloody climax. Moonlite is the true and epic story of George Scott, an Irish-born preacher who becomes, along with Ned Kelly, one of the nation’s most notorious and celebrated criminals.

Charismatic, intelligent and handsome, George Scott is unlike any other bushranger. Born into a privileged life in famine-wracked Ireland, Scott’s family loses its fortune and is forced to flee to New Zealand. There, Scott joins the local militia and fights as a soldier against the Maori in the brutal New Zealand wars.

After recovering from a series of serious gunshot wounds, he sails to Australia and becomes a Lay Preacher, captivating churchgoers with his fiery and inspiring sermons.

But Scott is also prone to bursts of madness. The local villagers back in Ireland often whispered that a ‘wild drop’ ran in the blood of the Scott family. One night he dons a mask in a small country town, arms himself with a gun and, dubbing himself Captain Moonlite, brazenly robs a bank before staging one of the country’s most audacious jailbreaks.

After falling in love with fellow prisoner James Nesbitt, a boyish petty criminal desperately searching for a father figure, Scott finds himself unable to shrug off his criminal past.

Pursued and harassed by the police, he stages a dramatic siege and prepares for a final showdown with the law – and a macabre executioner without a nose.

Meticulously researched and drawing on previously unpublished material, Moonlite is a brilliant work of non-fiction that reads like a novel.

Told at a cracking pace, and based on many of the extensive letters Scott wrote from his death cell, Moonlite is set amid the violent and sexually-repressed era of Australia in the second half of the 19th century.

With a cast of remarkable characters, it weaves together the extraordinary lives of our bushrangers and the desperation of a young nation eager to remove the stains of its convict past.

But most of all, Moonlite is a tragic love story.

Living with the Anthropocene

$34.99

Australia — and the world — is changing. On the Great Barrier Reef corals bleach white, across the inland farmers struggle with declining rainfall, birds and insects disappear from our gardens and plastic waste chokes our shores. The 2019–20 summer saw bushfires ravage the country like never before and young and old alike are rightly anxious. Human activity is transforming the places we live in and love.

In this extraordinarily powerful and moving book, some of Australia’s best-known writers and thinkers — as well as ecologists, walkers, farmers, historians, ornithologists, artists and community activists — come together to reflect on what it is like to be alive during an ecological crisis. They build a picture of a collective endeavour towards a culture of care, respect, and attention as the physical world changes around us. How do we hold onto hope.

Personal and urgent, this is a literary anthology for our age, the age of humans.