History is written by the winners. But what happens when the winners are usually men? Our reviewer Anna Creer considers two books this week that bring women back into the frame after their exclusion by history. First, in the Trojan War - often a big and glorious Boy's Own Adventure story - and then in the story of King Lear. No one mentions his wife, but J. R. Thorp does. And will the 1990s be the last decade we are able to define as a decade? What makes a decade a decade, anyway? Chuck Klosterman makes the case for the 1990s in his book, The Nineties: A Book (just in case this digital era has led you to forget what the bound stack of pages in your hand is). But not all history is comprehensive. Is the way we remember a decade more important to how it is defined than what actually happened? Plus, Shane Breynard reviews a biography of Judith Anderson, who lived at a time when the right accent - World English - could take you from an Adelaide childhood to the world stage and the bright lights of Hollywood. Is it the stuff dreams are made of? You can find all the books we've reviewed this week below. And I welcome your thoughts and feedback on what we've been reading. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org Peggy Frew tells Sally Pryor this week about her new novel, Wildflowers (Allen &amp; Unwin, $32.99), a symphonic reckoning with addiction and the bonds that form between sisters. Frew says she has little patience with criticism that is sometimes levelled at her books; her characters are often, to all intents and purposes, hard to like. "Of course you can't please everybody, but I don't waste a lot of time thinking about it," Frew says. Frew will be in conversation with Pryor at Muse in Canberra on September 11. You can find more information at musecanberra.com.au. When was the last time we were in control of technology rather than it controlling us? Chuck Klosterman argues in The Nineties: A Book (Penguin, $44.95) it was - did the title give it away? - the 1990s, a decade that he thinks might be the last to categorised as a discrete era. It was the last hurrah of the analog world. Our reviewer Colin Steele considers Klosterman's episodic history of the period, which puts the most emphasis on the cultural output of the united states. As Steele says, The Blair Witch Project gets a mention but Tony Blair does not. But gather around the television and leave the landline off the hook to give you time to enjoy this frolic through history. Imagine dying, finding yourself in the afterlife and having your CV regarded as poor. Then you get sent to the umbrella factory and have to tackle menial work and finding you still care about what those you left behind in the land of the living are up to. This is the set up for a new novel by Steve Toltz, Here Goes Nothing (Hamish Hamilton, $32.99), which our reviewer T. J. Collins considers this week. "In the end, Here Goes Nothing is a dark, often amusing reminder that whatever we might tell ourselves, we all want to be liked," Collins writes. The election of the Labor government in May has led to Australia shifting gears on its response to climate change, the take up of electric vehicles and the rush to get off fossil fuels. In this light, David Ferrell considers Saul Griffith's The Big Switch (Black Inc, $27.99), a big and broad argument to switch everything to electricity in Australia in line with Griffith's own vision. Ferrell says Griffith's book has a "blokey voice and passionate zeal, has the clarity and brevity of a pamphlet or report". "Griffith's book is more of a pitch than a plan. Now six months old, against the backdrop of June and July's energy crises, and as a new climate bill sneaks into parliament, The Big Switch may prove effective pre-emptive reading for Australians," Ferrell writes. Judith Anderson, who went from an Adelaide childhood to the world stage and screen in the first half the 20th century, is one of the stars of this year's Canberra International Film Festival, so Shane Breynard considers a recent biography of the actor. "The young actor's vocal proficiency in World English gave her a world currency that facilitated her theatrical success across the anglophone world: initially in Australia and later in the theatres of New York and film studios of Hollywood," Breynard writes of Desley Deacon's Judith Anderson: Australian Star, First Lady of the American Stage (Kerr Publishing, $59.99). Pat Barker felt girl the well-known warriors of the Trojan war "are quarrelling over says absolutely nothing. I think women hear that silence and I'm not sure men do". The Women of Troy (Hamish Hamilton, $32.99) is the second time Barker has picked up in novel form where the men who passed down the Trojan war story left off. Our reviewer Anna Creer finds Barker's novel "compelling if bleak reading. Barker succeeds in reimagining, not only the mythical women of Troy but also in highlighting the paranoia and inadequacies of the Greek heroes". Australian-born lyricist and librettist J. R. Thorp imagines the impact of the death of Lear and his daughters on his wife, who has been in exile in a nunnery for the previous fifteen years, in a debut novel Learwife (Canongate, $27.99). King Lear's wife?! There was no such woman in Shakespeare's version of the story. Well, there was a line, but you'd be forgiven for missing it. Anna Creer finds Learwife to "rich and dense, with echoes of the rhythms of Shakespeare's blank verse" and justifiably the subject of high international praise. This is not another feel-good story of families breaking and mending, writes our reviewer Frank O'Shea of Helen Fitzgerald's Keep Her Sweet (Affirm Press, $29.99). Don't be put off by a slow start to the book. O'Shea finds there's no wasted words in this story of two families - and almost all the characters are women - linked by a counsellor and set mainly in Ballarat. This is a "book that starts out in innocent smiles, morphs into loud guffaws and slowly, almost silently, to tragic violence", O'Shea writes.