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A Secret Country: The Hidden Australia
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A Secret Country: The Hidden Australia

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  361 Ratings  ·  24 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
Hardcover, 305 pages
Published December 24th 1991 by Knopf (first published 1980)
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Summer Lewis
Jan 26, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: global
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
Jul 05, 2011 rated it liked it
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
Nov 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Thought provoking. Explodes the mythology of Australia as the egalitarian lucky country full of mates and a fair go.
n* Dalal
Feb 17, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Tristan Broomhall
Sep 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Aug 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant insight into Australian History. A real eye opener that should be standard reading for any Australian.
Aug 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
All Australians should read this.
Feb 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Mandatory reading for every Australian.
Alastair Rosie
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
"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
Mar 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australia
In this book John Pilger, an Australian journalist, covers a lot of topics that he feels Australians should know more about than they do. I'm not Australian, so I don't really know what aspects of the nation's history have and have not been taught in schools, or how it was taught if it was. I get the impression, however, that certain topics have been soft-pedaled or ignored, such as the treatment that the Aborigines received at the hands of the British colonists and from their descendants. And t ...more
Rob Manwaring
Apr 11, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Brendan Brooks
Nov 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
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
Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  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
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Withering litany of the crimes and tribulations of Australia's political class since "time not immemorial." You cannot get truth out of a politician and especially not from mainstream media. Which is why we have to rely on people like John Pilger to know what is really going on. It's called investigative journalism (or it used to be). In this partly autobiographical look back over the Australia of Pilger's lifetime (without ever forgetting the old blackfellas who came before all of us), John tak ...more
Oct 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Excellent on Indigenous Australia, detailed analysis on the fall of the Whitlam Government due to CIA subversion.
A mixture of a book - sometimes delving too much into details ( from the perspective of events 25 years after it was published) . Perceptive on the rise of Rupert Murdoch.
Aug 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
A history of Australia as told by one of my favourite lefty journalists. Worth the read!
May 18, 2014 rated it did not like it
A nasty piece of work from a nasty bitter man.
Sep 15, 2013 rated it liked it
An interesting perspective on the history of Australia, with good detail on the recent years.
Aug 31, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
A great place to be apparently - with a dark history...
Nov 27, 2014 rated it really liked it
A must-read for anyone who calls themselves Australian.
Helly Dugdale
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Sep 20, 2011
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Gem Wilczek
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Apr 29, 2009
Gerry Duffy
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Nov 17, 2013
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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...