Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Secret Country” as Want to Read:
Secret Country
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Secret Country

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  234 ratings  ·  21 reviews
This study takes the reader beyond the euphemistic and romantic popular misconceptions of Australia to reveal the often invisible past and the present subterfuge of the country. The author recognizes that since its very beginning the history of white Australia has been shrouded in secrecy and silence. He remarks that it is a country with perhaps more cenotaphs per head of ...more
Paperback, 390 pages
Published October 27th 1992 by Random House UK (first published 1980)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Secret Country, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Secret Country

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 512)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
Summer Lewis
This book gave me a lot of deep background on Australia and it's long history. It looks at the treatment of Aborigines and immigrants in a candid way--not something you get out of "fun" travel books.

A great quote from the book:

All principal beaches in Australia are public places. This is not so in the United States and Europe, where the private possession of land and sea is rightly regarded by visiting Australians as a seriously uncivilized practice. Although private property is revered by man
n* Dalal
I've read a lot of John Pilger's work on Palestine, but this is the first of his Australian work I've read– silly, I know, given that I've lived on this massive hunk of land for almost two years now.

I picked it up a few months ago, but it was hard to get into, because he spends the first chapter babbling ad nauseum about the beach, about how Australians are beach people, about how perfect the beach is, about the water, sun, the waves and surfing, blah blah.

I'm not a beach person. And I've met qu
When Pilger talks about Aboriginal rights and the treatment of Indigenous Peoples in this book, it is profoundly important and we should all pay due attention. When he discusses American (specifically CIA) interests and intervention in Australian politics (specifically when a democratically elemented Prime Minister was dismissed by the Governor General), we should think a little deeper. When he speaks about Murdoch amassing and consolidating power under the Hawke government, we should be pissed ...more
Tristan Broomhall
I was introduced to John Pilger in a senior English class here in Australia in the late 90s. Distant Voices was a senior text and two years later my sister had the same class and brought home A Secret Country. Since then I've owned several copies of this book over the years and it doesn't stay on my shelf long. Someone will look bewildered as we discuss some matter of Australian history, domestic or foreign policy, or politics, that should be common knowledge and the best way to continue is to g ...more
If you are Australian you need to read this book. Some of the things within will make you cry, make you ashamed and make you proud.

Pilger is a first rate journalist. He believes a journalist ought to be a guardian of the public memory and often quotes Milan Kundera: "The struggle of people against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting."

"It is too easy," he says, "for Western journalists to see humanity in terms of its usefulness to 'our' interests and to follow government agendas t
Brendan Brooks
It is quite something to read the secrets in this book detailed in 1989 in the context of today. Not much has changed, only some of the names. What Pilger calls for here is what we still should be calling for now: leadership that seeks to drive an Independent Australia, independent from superpowers, from super commercial power, and from super-media-megalomaniac power. Striking in this work is the quest for a "fair go" is lip service in the echelons and a life long dream for generations of the ma ...more
Alastair Rosie
"As an expatriate Aussie living in the UK I'm frequently struck by the naivete about Australia here in Britain. I'm often forced to inform Brits that Neighbours and Home and Away are not reality tv. When it comes to Australia they think of kangaroos, a funny shaped opera house, sport, and beer. We have all of that and more, it's a vast country, something Brits just can't come to terms with, it has the most extreme climate ranging from baking heat to snow, and a black history.
John Pilger has alw
Rob Manwaring
Picked this up in the rather ace second hand book shop in Yankalilla, for a princely $1. Am really enjoying this - and fascinating portrait of my relatively newly adopted home country. What is particularly good, so far, is that Pilger weaves in a good deal of his own memories, anecdotes, and is a lot funnier than his sometimes dour didactic persona suggests. The chapter on aboriginal Australia is fascinating, heartbreaking, and angry.

This was good, but uneven, and also slightly repetitive. The
A fascinating and extremely frustrating look at how we've been sold down the gurgler by our "elected" leaders, and the lies we're told in order to keep it that way. All Australians should read this book.
Aug 27, 2007 MrGibson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people interested in Australia / history
This book really opened my eyes about Australia's history. It is a fascinating, and at times often infuriating, look at the emergence of Australia over the last two hundred years.

The book will present a contrary image of Australia than you may have. It is not the romantic picture of bronzed life savers on a sun soaked shore and a 'fair go' in this book, but a depiction of a country that is uncomfortable about its past, that is easily seduced by power (Nuclear testing and US bases) and where the
A brilliant and no holds barred look into my country. I was introduced to this book and John Pilger via senior year compulsory texts, and subsequently became a fan. I'd recommend his work to anyone wanting an intelligent insight into Australian history. How the innocent notion of 'mateship' can be much darker than we initially think. John is one of those unique writers where todays common method of 'cut n paste' journalism has no place. Where the art of critical thinking in todays world seems mo ...more
A must-read for anyone who calls themselves Australian.
A nasty piece of work from a nasty bitter man.
This history of Australia is a fascinating read, even for someone who has no connection with the country. Pilger is a brilliant writer and made this subject a compelling read - and at times laugh-out-loud funny (description of former Prime Minister Bab Hawke's loutish behavior and drunken comments to the wife of a dignitary is one such section). Even if you are not an Australian (and I'm not) or have a connection to Australia, I would recommend this as a great read that will also broaden your kn ...more
A brilliant insight into Australian History. A real eye opener that should be standard reading for any Australian.
Thought provoking. Explodes the mythology of Australia as the egalitarian lucky country full of mates and a fair go.
An interesting perspective on the history of Australia, with good detail on the recent years.
A history of Australia as told by one of my favourite lefty journalists. Worth the read!
A great place to be apparently - with a dark history...
Mandatory reading for every Australian.
All Australians should read this.
Janine is currently reading it
Nov 24, 2015
Faiza marked it as to-read
Nov 19, 2015
Glenn is currently reading it
Nov 18, 2015
Layne marked it as to-read
Nov 17, 2015
Rachael marked it as to-read
Nov 08, 2015
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 17 18 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Future Eaters: An Ecological History of the Australasian Lands and People
  • Australians: Origins to Eureka (Australians, #1)
  • Why Weren't We Told?
  • Recollections Of A Bleeding Heart. A Portrait Of Paul Keating PM
  • Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney
  • The Lucky Country
  • We of the Never Never
  • The Shark Net
  • A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia
  • The Beautiful Boy
  • The Service of Clouds
  • Growth Fetish
  • Fences and Windows: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Globalization Debate
  • Razor: Tilly Devine, Kate Leigh and the Razor Gangs
  • Drylands
  • True Stories: Selected Non Fiction
  • Am I Black Enough For You?
  • The Tyranny Of Distance: How Distance Shaped Australia's History
John Richard Pilger is an Australian journalist and documentary maker. He has twice won Britain's Journalist of the Year Award, and his documentaries have received academy awards in Britain and the US. Based in London, he is known for his polemical campaigning style: "Secretive power loathes journalists who do their job, who push back screens, peer behind façades, lift rocks. Opprobrium from on hi ...more
More about John Pilger...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »