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Australia: A Biography of a Nation
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Australia: A Biography of a Nation

4.09 of 5 stars 4.09  ·  rating details  ·  53 ratings  ·  7 reviews
Part history, part travelogue, part memoir, this is the inspiring story of how a one-time British colony, settled by only two kinds of citizens - convicts and jailers - turned itself into a proud, prosperous and confident country, the greatest sporting nation on earth, where the citizens of its high-leisure cities enjoy a lifestyle that is the envy of the world.

Through the
Hardcover, 383 pages
Published November 28th 2000 by Jonathan Cape (first published 2000)
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Dagmar Belesova
I knew very little about Australian history (especially modern history) and I found this book a revelation. It is written in a very engaging prose and it is fascinating to learn about all these events that shaped the Australia of today. A biography is a fitting choice of a word for a title - he portrays Australia almost as a character, with a unique personality and character, which develops throughout the book. It makes you want to go to country, just to engage with it and discover to what exten ...more
I didn't know anything about Australian history before reading this book, except maybe that it was discovered by a British guy a bunch of centuries ago, so I was uncertain where to start from. This was a very good choice: I think it's almost impossible to squeeze in many more facts in only 350 pages, and yet it doesn't feel like everything is just crammed in. The author manages to take his space to digress on some subjects and he is also capable of being humorous from time to time -- which, in m ...more
Stan Bebbington
This is not a guide book, it is a highly personal history of the country, affectionate but honest. It covers all the salient features of Australia's climb to nationhood via a strongly polarised series of political, social and industrial developments. Some of which are quite shocking revelations of exploitation and corruption. More Deadwood Gulch than Pugin's Neogothic. It is well written and a good read.
Oct 26, 2007 Ianto rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
An excellent, if non-academic, overview of Australian history and identity since the nineteenth century, with an excellent focus on Aboriginal affairs, and on the evolution of the country's relationship with the United Kingdom. Good for anyone who likes popular history.
Roger Norman
Easy reading, plenty of anecdotes, excellent on the beginnings of Oz, and very good on the world wars, vietnam and lots of other stuff, including Gough Whitlam. Gets a bit bogged down towards the end. Sympathetic to the Aussies but not craven.
Kersti Anear
May 05, 2010 Kersti Anear rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Aussies
Recommended to Kersti by: Christian Saemann
An amazing eye-opener of a book which has left me questioning everything I thought I knew about my homeland. Highly recommended for all Aussies.
I'm so excited to go to Australia!
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Phillip Knightley was a special correspondent for The Sunday Times for 20 years (1965-85) and one of the leaders of its Insight investigative team. He was twice named Journalist of the Year (1980 and 1988) in the British Press Awards. He and John Pilger are the only journalists ever to have won it twice.

He was also Granada Reporter of the Year (1980), Colour Magazine Writer of the Year (1982), hol
More about Phillip Knightley...
The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero & Myth-maker from the Crimea to Iraq The Master Spy: The Story of Kim Philby The Second Oldest Profession: Spies and Spying in the Twentieth Century The Philby Conspiracy The Secret Lives Of Lawrence Of Arabia

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“[Senator Bill] O'Chee: What do I have to do to be an Australian, because my family has been in this country for a hundred and ten years
[78-year-old woman on incoming telephone call]: It doesn't matter.
O'Chee: I've got to look English, have I?
Old Lady: Yes
O'Chee: What about the Aboriginies?
Old Lady: They're Australian, too.
O'Chee: Can I just get this down for the record -- you can look Aboriginal and be an Australian, or you can look English and be an Australian, but you can't look Asian and be an Australian?
Old Lady: That's right.”
“It would be pointless to deny that some crime in Australia is linked to migrant communities. A factor here is that many migrants come from countries where the government trusts none of its citizens to tell the truth and demands proof for everything. The Australian system, where the authorities generally assume that a citizen is telling the truth, but provides penalties if they are then caught lying, tempts some migrants into illegal acts...” 1 likes
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