After a lifetime of research and debate on Australian and international history, Geoffrey Blainey is well-placed to introduce us to the people who have played a part and to guide us through the events which have created the Australian identity: the mania for spectator sport, the suspicion of the tall poppy, the rivalries of Catholic and Protestant, Sydney and Melbourne, new and old homelands, the conflicts of war abroad and race at home, the importance of technology, the recognition of our Aboriginal past and Native Title, the successes and failures of the nation.
For this enlarged edition, Blainey has rewritten or expanded on various episodes and themes, making changes to almost every page. He has described significant events and trends of the early-20th century. A final chapter summarises key factors that shaped and still shape this country's history.
©2009 Geoffrey Blainey (P)2010 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
"Part of Blainey’s magic is that his words float off the page. Here, too, are the puzzles, oddities and off-beat comparisons of his restless, quirky intelligence, constantly astonished and endlessly engaging." (The Age)
Covered a wide range of key events in Australia's history. The book was easy listening and well written for those interested in a brief history lesson.
Hard to compare because it deals with many subjects in a short space of time. My feeling would be that if you enjoyed this book you would also enjoy books like Kakoda and even Mathew Flinder's Cat (fiction)
Always a great Narrator for any Australian story - didn't disappoint.
As expected the book is not detailed, but it covers the history of Australia in a amazing way. I deeply recommend it for everyone interested in Australia.
The book starts at the ice age and continues through 2009. It does a nice job of concise presentation of climactic, cultural, environmental, political, International, etc. information about the country, its people, and its history. Having read it will make my trip there much more interesting because I have a flavor of what has gone before, Who the people in the country are. I was relieved the book did not go into exhaustive detail about anything.
No. I was really interested in getting an overview of Australian history. The author indicates that he's attempting to be objective and balanced about the tensions between Aborigines and white Australians, but the paternalism is so thick I struggled to get through the first couple of hours and then gave up. For example the author states that establishing large areas of protected land for the indigenous people of Australia never would have worked because inevitably they would have been drawn away by the bright lights of the big city. Really? Really? That's so brutal, I'm not even really sure how to respond to that. There are many, many other examples. I think the author is genuinely trying to be balanced, he's just coming from a perspective that is already so far gone it's not much help.
This book begins with a disclaimer from the author stating his book was a collection of his own opinions about Australia. Anyone reading this book for historical facts needs to find another resource. It irritated me when he writes Australians thought this and that. He does not back up any of his statements with statistics. He is also rather paternal and imperialistic when writing about the Aboriginal Indigenous Australians. Be warned this book might make you mad too! I have traveled to Australia and truly wanted to increase my knowledge.
Not very interesting. Too short to get into anything in depth, leaving just an overly simple overview making it impossible to get very interested in anything.
"Readable overview of Australia's development"
Interesting overview of Australia's development starting with Aboriginal settlement and adaptation to the land over 40,000 years ago and ending with Kevin Rudd's first stint as Prime Minister of Australia. Despite numerous developments since then, the bulk of this history - surveying such issues as colonisation, (somewhat limited) discussion of dispossession and violence against the Aboriginal peoples, participation in the first and second world wars, immigration, agricultural and natural resource exploitation and development, infrastructure development, urbanisation, sport as core to Australia's identity.
Blainey does a good job of surveying the big picture issues, illustrated at times with more detailed and personal stories, and general insights regarding politics, economics and history. As somebody who grew up overseas (and didn't learn much about Australian history at any earlier stage of my education) I found this informative, well written, engaging, and a good overview.
Blainey's work has been critiqued within the so-called "history wars" - reflecting the debates and contests about the degree of violence and dispossession suffered by Australia's first peoples. Blainey seeks to present a "balanced account" - but this just touches on the degree of contestation and dispossession that occurred and the current challenges within Australia. I would have been interested to hear still more on the important land rights decisions of Australian courts, the ongoing challenges to Australia's economy, the problems inherent in climate change denial, the harms of alcohol despite it being so throughly intertwined with day to day life and its narrative in Australia.
Well worth a listen!
Geoffrey Blainey has the ability to write history in such a manner that entices the reader to be be completely absorbed and interested in his knowledge. He gives a comprehensive overview of Australian history from the First Fleet, Aborigines through until 2009.
The book revived school lessons learned of long ago and I learnt new facts and gained answers of unanswered questions.
It also will help me with researching my family history.
For anyone wanting an overview of Australian history, I would strongly recommend this book.
The narrator, Humphrey Bower immediately envelops the reader into the story with his very pleasant voice.
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