Jeff Sparrow

is a writer, editor and award-winning critic.

By this author

Culture July 15, 2023

Flawed Hero

When Ben Roberts-Smith brought his suit against Fairfax Media and journalists Chris Masters and Nick McKenzie, much commentary ensued about the chilling effect of Australian defamation law. But Masters’ new book, Flawed Hero: Truth, lies and war …

Culture June 17, 2023

Stopping Oil: Climate Justice and Hope

A few weeks ago, Melbourne’s Trades Hall unveiled a long-overdue monument honouring Zelda D’Aprano, a fierce campaigner for equal pay for women. Anyone concerned about climate change could not help but notice the irony of former Labor prime minister …

Culture June 03, 2023

The Dark Cloud: How the Digital World is Costing the Earth

“Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we …

Culture March 11, 2023

Barron Field in New South Wales: The Poetics of Terra Nullius

Most of us associate terra nullius – the doctrine that legalised the English occupation of a purportedly “empty” Australia – with 1788 and the very beginnings of white settlement. But Thomas Ford and Justin Clemens explain that the concept became …

Culture November 26, 2022

Chokepoint Capitalism

If you had a cool $22,000, a reseller could have supplied you with an early ticket to Taylor Swift’s recently announced American tour. If you didn’t, you confronted a glitching website, long delays and, eventually, the cancellation of all public sales. The …

Culture November 12, 2022

The Successor: The High-Stakes Life of Lachlan Murdoch

In late September this year, an American court released a trove of messages sent to the Tesla billionaire Elon Musk. They revealed a private Musk remarkably like the public one: an unmoored narcissist revelling in attention from celebrities and sycophantic …

book August 27, 2022

August in Kabul: America’s Last Days in Afghanistan

A decade or so ago, the online magazine Slate launched a feature series called “If it happened there”, in which correspondents described United States politics through the tropes usually reserved for overseas stories. A pre-Covid story on …

Culture July 30, 2022

Lessons from History

In 1984, the historian Geoffrey Blainey sparked a nationwide debate by denouncing the government for its supposed preference towards Asian migrants. The subsequent normalisation of the far right means Blainey’s comments no longer shock as they once …

Culture June 25, 2022

The Red Witch: A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard

Katharine Susannah Prichard published her first short story in 1899 and her final novel in 1967. At last we have a definitive biography, a book tracing her life and the formation of the Australian literary culture she helped to create. Nathan Hobby reminds …

Culture May 14, 2022

The Secret of Emu Field: Britain’s forgotten atomic tests in Australia

When we recall the British atomic bomb tests in Australia, most of us think of Maralinga, still a byword for imperial indifference to Country and people. Few remember Emu Field – even though, as Elizabeth Tynan shows, the 1953 Totem 1 and Totem 2 detonations …

Culture April 23, 2022

Keeping Them Honest

After absorbing the first pages of this book, most readers will, one suspects, mentally substitute “the bastards” for “them” in its title. Keeping Them Honest: The case for a genuine national integrity commission and other vital democratic …

Comment November 23, 2019

Under fire from the new fascism

“We need to talk about fascism, particularly here in Australia. We need, as Australians, to talk about it because the perpetrator of the Christchurch massacre grew up in this country – and the crimes he is being prosecuted for in New Zealand, killing …”