Book Reviews

Bill Ford and David Plowman: Australian Unions. An Industrial Relations Perspective, Macmilian, 1983. r.r.p. $19.95 (paper).

An interesting collection of 28 readings on historical and contemporary issues in Australian trade unionism. Of special interest to labour historians are contributions on shop committees, the A.C.T.U’s authority 1927-1957, the Victorian Trades Hall Split of 1967, and the post Second World War experience of unions and immigrants.

Frank Cain, The Origins of Poliltical Surveillance in Australia, Angus and Robertson, 1983, r.r.p. $24.95.

Angus and Robertson and Dr Frank Cain of the History Department at Duntroon must be relishing the current state of interest in spies and spookery created by recent events. Despite its high price the book must be a big seller. It is, quite simply, the best book to date about the trench coat brigade in Australia and is based on a prodigious amount of research. It is a pity though that the book’s focus is so heavily concentrated upon the First World War and that its approach is not more theoretically informed.

E.L. Wheelwright & K. Buckley (eds): Essays in the Political Economy of Australian Capitalism vol.5, A.N.Z. Book Co., 1983. $14.95 (paper).

The latest in this splendid series. Of special interest to labour historians are the articles by McQueen on Higgins and Arbitration, Carrigan on the Broken”Hill base metal industry as a sight of imperialist rivalry in the lead-up to World War One, and Niland on South Australia’s Labor Governments, 1966-1979. Our sources tell us that the future of the series is assured, despite the demise of the original publishing house. We eagerly await the publication of vol.6. under the banner of George Allen and Unwin.

Garry Wotherspoon: Sydney‘s Transport. Studies in Urban History, Edited by Hale and Iremonger, 1983. $12.95 (paper).

This is the third of the Sydney History Group’s publications on Sydney’s past. The articles in the volume range widely oyer Sydney’s past means of getting its citizenry and their commodities from A to B, and back again. Expert editorship combines with breadth and balance to make this work a must for all those seriously interested in Australian urban history. Labour historians will find much of interest in the contributions by Winifred Mitchell on Sydney’s wharfies, Ian Collins on the politics of the Eastern Suburbs Railway, and Ian Manning on the journey to work.

B.W. Head (ed): State and Economy in Australia. Oxford University Press, 1983. $12.99 (paper).

An illuminating collection of articles on the relationship between state regulation and economic processes in Australia. Your preferences will vary, but the contributions by Stuart Macintyre on arbitration from 1890 to 1920, Trevor Matthews on bosses organisations and government between 1850 and 1979, and W.A. Howard on unions and the contemporary arbitration scene are well worth a read.