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Canberra (The New South Cities Series #6)

3.5  ·  Rating details ·  48 Ratings  ·  10 Reviews
Canberra, Australia, is a city of orphans. People arrive temporarily for work, but stay when they discover the unanticipated promise and opportunity Canberra has to offer. An exploration of the city Australia loves to hate, this book shows that there is more to this capital than politics, geometrically designed roads, and mid-century architecture. From the lake and its for ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published January 1st 2013 by University of New South Wales Press (first published October 1st 2012)
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Nick Ryan
I was very disappointed by this book. This is the fist book review I have written in ages - I am THAT annoyed by it.

I felt it really needed an editor - badly. I must wonder whether the author (an award winning writer no less) was rushed by the publisher to 'get it out'. Some of the prose was quite tortured - the Ainslie story told in great length near the beginning and then included again in brief later as though the author 'forgot' that he done all this earlier - seems the later material was wr
Apr 02, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A fascinating potted history of Canberra. I'm not sure how much a non-Canberran would enjoy this book. It's written in a clunky style where stories and anecdotes are often seemingly incoherently connected together with few chapter breaks. It kept me fascinated as a current resident of this town but I feel my resolve would have been tested if I didn't have the connection to the place I do. Saying that, as a current Canberran, I enjoyed it and learnt much about personalities who have played import ...more
Aug 26, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Probably 3.5 stars. I enjoyed this book, quite an easy read. It was at times fact heavy, but I think that was mainly in the first section, whereas the more recent events the author was able to interview people or provide his own reflections on Canberra. Overall it does a pretty good job of proving to everyone that Canberra does have a history (and a sense of community) even if it's somewhat unique....
Mar 09, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting but odd read. Gives a lovely overview of the history of the city and the people who lived here before and after, and is probably worth reading for the sections on the indigenous people and Walter and Marion Griffin alone. But it is rather oddly structured, could have done with a rewrite in places, and suffers from typos throughout.
Dec 22, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As yet another Canberra resident who moved here from elsewhere I admit I know little of the history of the place. This book has filled in a lot of the blanks. I have a list of places to visit for their historical significance and was chuffed to find the story behind so many of my regular haunts. And who knew about King O'Malley being a teetotaller?
The text contained some interesting background on the life of Canberra and the way it has developed over time. I certainly want to read more on the topic. But probably not from this author. The book seems a bit rambling and full of disconnected ideas. I don't know how the chapters were selected... what is in the next paragraph seems to just be what popped in to the author's head next.
Shirley Evans
Mar 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating little book full of unexpectedly interesting bits and pieces. I would never have chosen it but was lent it by a friend. I found the appearance unappealing but was immediately hooked by Paul Daley's warm writing style.
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was reading this book on the plane and a pair of young girls from Sydney scoffed and said "is Canberra even big enough to write a book about? It's so dull." She then proceeded to pull out her book, Diary of a Webcam Girl. Those are the kinds of people who should read this book.
Joel D
Apr 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
an utter joy to read* (probably you have to live in Canberra, though)
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Author and journalist Paul Daley's books—Canberra, Collingwood: A Love Story, Beersheeba and Armaggedon—have been finalists in major literary awards, including the Nib, the Manning Clark House Cultural Awards and the Prime Minister's History Prize. He is the winner of the Walkley Award for Investigative Journalism and the Paul Lyneham Award for Press Gallery journalism. In 2013 he co-wrote, with K ...more
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Other Books in the Series

The New South Cities Series (9 books)
  • In Search of Hobart
  • Brisbane
  • Sydney
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Alice Springs
  • Perth
  • Darwin

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