Murray Goot and Tim Rowse’sÂ Divided Nation: Indigenous Australians in Australian Political Culture. Definitely the go-to book for anyone wanting to know what Australians think about Indigenous policy. Two facts that were new to me are thatÂ in 1965, 52% of Perth residents supported some formÂ of racial segregation. And that in recent times,Â a bare majority of Australians support a formal apology to Indigenous Australians. The authors also repeat two themes that stand out in Murray Goot’s work – that Howard isn’t as much of a poll-follower as some of his detractors would have you believe, and that many commentators are similarly torn when it comes to the question of whether politicians should lead or follow public opinion.
Diane Coyle’s The Soulful Science: What Economists Really Do and Why It Matters. In the manner of Landsburg, Harford, Levitt and Dubner, Coyle seeks to unpack what modern economics research is about. She delves into some areas the others don’t touch – such as Angus Maddison’s work on long-run national accounts, and Justin Wolfers and Eric Zitzewitz’s work on prediction markets. But Coyle doesn’t have much interest in the microeconomics that I find most exciting. Given a strict time budget, I think I’d turn to Harford or Levitt instead.
Ian McEwen’s On Chesil Beach: A Novel. Simply masterful. McEwen takes a story that could easily fill 400 pages, and writes a beautifully understatedÂ 166 page book. I read it two weeks ago, and still can’t stop tossing it around in my mind.