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The Way We Live Now

The Way We Live Now: The Controversies of the Nineties

Robert Manne

Australia underwent profound change in the nineteen nineties. The recession, theories of economic rationalism, the fall of Keating and the rise of Howard, the debates about race, the republic, the Holocaust, censorship, and euthanasia all influenced how we see ourselves.

Robert Manne, one of the most thoughtful and influential commentators on Australian public life, has played a pivotal role in many of these debates. In his work as an editor, columnist and analyst, he has not been afraid to change his mind in grappling with the key controversies of the decade. In this selection of his writings, he charts his response to issues which will critically define the kind of country we will inhabit in the twenty-first century.

In The Way We Live Now Manne writes powerfully about why bureaucrats and politicians ordered Aboriginal children to be taken from their families. He discusses why politicians tell lies. He debates the nature of Australian history and the fierce arguments over contemporary sexual politics. Not everyone will agree with Robert Manne on every issue but no one who wants to understand Australia now can afford to ignore his clear, passionate, balanced voice.

Robert Manne
About the Author

Robert Manne is associate professor of politics at La Trobe University, a columnist for the Age and Sydney Morning Herald and a commentator on ABC radio. His books include The Petrov Affair, The Culture of Forgetting, The Way We Live Now, The Australian Century and In Denial.

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Text publication date:
1 June 1998
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Praise for Robert Manne
andThe Way We Live Now

‘The Way We Live Now…offers a fascinating insight into a mind wrestling with the moral complexities of the shifting political landscape…Manne’s contribution is invaluable: we need his voice—fearless, cautious, quiet, assured—to speak amid the rubble. Manne has that rare ability to engage a wide audience in some of the more serious stumblings in our lives.’

‘Manne’s writing…has the Orewellian virtue of being able to convey complex ideas simply. He speaks with precision and calm and, while he is not a liberal, he applies his beliefs in a liberal way…At a time when the gap between the nation’s intelligensia and its ordinary people is at risk of becoming a black abyss into which we could all disappear, Manne is one of our few intellectuals capable of speaking to both groups.’

‘Not only does Manne put his own case well—his clarity of expression is such that it also serves to crystallise one’s own views on the topics he addresses.’