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Book Reviews

Adani and the War Over Coal

How Russia helped Donald Trump win

The Big Four: The Global Accounting Monopoly

Adani and the War Over Coal

Quentin Beresford

August 2018

ISBN 9781742235936

NewSouth Publishing

Coal is the political, economic and cultural totem for debates about climate change. Yet Australian politicians have had a love affair with coal, which has helped lock our politics – and our country – into the fossil fuel age.

This searing book takes apart the pivotal role of the Adani Carmichael mine in the conflict over coal. We see the rise of a fossil fuel power network linking mining companies, mining oligarchs, the big four banks, right-wing think tanks, lobby groups, the conservative media and all sides of Australian politics. On the other side, we have one of the biggest social movements ever seen in Australia in the form of #StopAdani uniting to try to save the Great Barrier Reef, native title rights and to fight the corrupt politics of coal.

Looking into the social, environmental and economic elements of this big fight, as well as the background of Gautam Adani himself, this book tells the full story of one of the lightning rod issues of our time.

Quentin Beresford is professor of politics at Edith Cowan University and the author of The Rise and Fall of Gunns Ltd, which won the Tasmanian non-fiction prize, and was shortlisted for the Ashurst Business Literature Award among other prizes.

How Russia helped Donald Trump win

Collusion: Secret Meetings, Dirty Money, and How Russia Helped Donald Trump Win

Luke Harding

November 2017

ISBN 9780525562511

Vintage Books

December 2016: Luke Harding, the Guardian reporter and former Moscow bureau chief, meets former MI6 officer Christopher Steele in a London pub to discuss President-elect Donald Trump's Russia connections. A month later, Steele's now-famous dossier sparks what may be the biggest scandal of the modern era. The names of the Americans involved are well-known ‒ Paul Manafort, Michael Flynn, Jared Kushner, George Papadopoulos, Carter Page ‒ but here Harding also shines a light on powerful Russian figures like Aras Agalarov, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and Sergey Kislyak, whose motivations and instructions may have been coming from the highest echelons of the Kremlin.

Drawing on new material and his expert understanding of Moscow and its players, Harding takes the reader through every bizarre and disquieting detail of the "Trump-Russia" story ‒ an event so huge it involves international espionage, off-shore banks, sketchy real estate deals, the Miss Universe pageant, mobsters, money laundering, poisoned dissidents, computer hacking, and the most shocking election in American history.

Luke Harding is an award-winning foreign correspondent with The Guardian. His books include Mafia State and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy.

Michelle Goldberg wrote in The New York Times: "Essential. I wish everyone who is skeptical that Russia has leverage over Trump would read it. Harding, the former Moscow bureau chief of The Guardian, has been reporting on shady characters like Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman who was indicted last month, long before Trump announced his candidacy. There's no longer any serious question that there was cooperation between Trump's campaign and Russia, but the extent of the cooperation, and the precise nature of it, remains opaque. Collusion is invaluable in collating the overwhelming evidence of a web of relationships between the Kremlin, Trump and members of Trump's circle."

The Big Four: The Global Accounting Monopoly

The Big Four: The Curious Past and Perilous Future of the Global Accounting Monopoly

Stuart Kells, Ian Gow

April 2018

Black Inc. Books / La Trobe University Press

$32.99, eBook $14.99

Paperback ISBN: 9781863959964

Across the globe, the so-called Big Four accounting and audit firms – Deloitte, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young, and KPMG – are massively influential. Together, they earn more than US$100 billion annually and employ almost one million people. In many profound ways, they have changed how we work, how we manage, how we invest and how we are governed.

Stretching back centuries, their history is a fascinating story of wealth, power and luck. But today, the Big Four face an uncertain future – thanks to their push into China; their vulnerability to digital disruption and competition; and the hazards of providing traditional services in a new era of transparency.

Leonard A. Schlesinger from the Harvard Business School writes: 'Who would have ever thought that one would find a deep understanding of the issues facing today's Big Four in the rise and fall of the Medici bank? Gow and Kells provide a riveting analysis of the historical antecedents to today's Big Four structures and strategies and leave us totally unsettled in considering the industry's future. A unique approach of historical comparisons results in a must-read volume of an essential industry that is poorly understood. I could not put it down!"

Stuart Kells is a Melbourne-based author. Ian D. Gow is currently at Harvard Business School and will soon take up a professorship at the University of Melbourne.

Published in Chain Reaction #133, September 2018. National magazine of Friends of the Earth Australia.

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