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A Shorter History of Australia

3.47  ·  Rating Details  ·  108 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
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, ne ...more
Audiobook, 9 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Bolinda Publishing (first published 1994)
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Apr 24, 2010 Brad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a recent immigrant down under I wanted an entry point to understanding the Australian experience. This book met my needs. Blainey does a great job of showing how his themes of climate and distance weave through the history of the people living here starting from before the Europeans arrived. Most the book is, of course, the history of the relatively new nation of Australia, but in glorifying the present he doesn’t shy away from sensitive issues such as Aboriginal relations, immigration and th ...more
May 13, 2014 Bernd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
good read, very accessible intro into Australian history that gives a nice feel what it would have been like to live in AU 20, 50, 100, 200 or more years ago.

I probably would not agree with all of the political perspectives of the author as they come across often as quite pragmatic. At least they're always balanced and acknowleding the complexities of any situation, whether it is the relationship between Aboriginal Australians and British settlers or Australia's relationship to neighbouring coun
Sep 09, 2014 Lisa rated it it was ok
Hmm. I hope Australian school kids aren't being given this to read. Blainey has somehow managed to tell the fascinating story of our country's history in such a way that even a history lover like me found it boring.
I suppose it goes with the idea of it being a Shorter History - there's not enough space to do more than skim over events, be highly selective, and make sweeping statements about things. But too often when he made what appeared to be an unsubstantiated claim about public opinion in ti
Nov 21, 2012 Colin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The kindest thing you can say about this book is that it is old-fashioned. But there were times when I was going through it when I felt it was reprehensible. The author seems not terribly interested in critiquing the past. One rhetorical device becomes the book's refrain. The author mentions that "some have blamed" or "it has become common to blame" this or that decision of the Anglo-Australian or Hiberno-Australian elite. Then the author claims that it was in fact entirely "understandable" that ...more
Jane Baker
Great! Really learned a lot! It got a bit hard to finish, but this is my first history book (that's about a country and not a person). I guess it is a bit right wing. He has a kind of "greater good" view of the Aboriginals. As in- currently Australia makes food to feed it's self and a large proportion of the rest of the world. The Aboriginals didn't farm or store food. This country with it's amazing resources couldn't be the home of just one people for long. Yeah, but did you have to destroy all ...more
Melissa Jean
Jan 08, 2012 Melissa Jean rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grad-school
I tried to use this book to gain some background knowledge on 19th century Australian history but couldn't get past the way Blainey wrote about the Aborigines. He suggests that Aborigines did not have any civil rights in Australia because they didn't take the chance to vote and participate in civil society when they had the chance (ie. 1850s.) This is just one example of many that bothered me throughout the book. I'm going to instead turn to Stuart Macintyre's "A Concise History of Australia."
2 1/2 stars. A good introduction to the history of Australia. Informative, probably somewhat biased towards something I can't quite put my finger on, but it gives the reader a good sense of how Australia became the nation it is today. It lacked something for me, maybe the rigorous scholarship didn't shine through enough for me... it seemed more like a story than an historical account. But perhaps that was the intention.
Jan 11, 2016 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-library
Awesome! This book gave me everything I was looking for in a “short history” of Australia. I didn't want to get bogged down in long a lecture style presentation and found this to be a light, easy to follow, free flowing and enjoyable delivery of the milestones in Australia’s history. Perhaps it is because I am a homesick Australian, living outside my country, but I thoroughly enjoyed the read.
Sep 19, 2011 Petersong rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This interesting and concise book has improved my knowledge of Australian history. Blainey points to two factors as having the greatest impact on Australia over history: climate and distance. I look forward to reading more of this author's books.
Monte Lamb
Mar 08, 2012 Monte Lamb rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-history
This is an overview of Australian history. It mostly focuses on the social history, but does include other facets. It gives a good idea of how the country has developed. It is easy to read and still interesting.
Jul 05, 2010 Barry rated it really liked it
The first history of Australia I've tackled, so I learned lots of interesting new things. One thing that struck home was the sheer unstoppable momentum of the wave of colonial immigration (and thus colonisation).
This was an interesting, simple, straightforward overview of Australian history. I learned a lot, but I wish that I would have picked a book that explored a more specific event or time period more deeply.
Any Length
Apr 01, 2012 Any Length rated it really liked it
Great book to get a good idea of Australia's history. Well written and easy to follow, without any political bias.
Andrew Rodda
Dec 25, 2014 Andrew Rodda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Light and fluffy. Tom Keneally"s volumes await. Hopefully with a differing narrative. Need more depth.
Greg Cooper
Jan 20, 2016 Greg Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the history books that should be compulsory reading for all Australians.
Jun 20, 2014 Leah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the best books I've ever read on Australia. Very much recommended.
Lizzie Culverhouse
A really accessible brief history of Australia. Ideal for an expat!
Apr 25, 2015 Jess rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
An easy read or listen.
Mar 07, 2011 sheena rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-oz, ozzie
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Geoffrey Norman Blainey AC is a prominent Australian historian. He attended Wesley College and the University of Melbourne. He was appointed to a teaching post at the University of Melbourne in 1962, becoming Professor of Economic History in 1968, Professor of History in 1977, and then Dean of Melbourne's Faculty of Arts in 1982. From 1994 to 1998 Blainey was foundation Chancellor at the Universit ...more
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