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The Land Before Avocado

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  1,734 ratings  ·  263 reviews
The new book from the bestselling author of Flesh Wounds. A funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be - and just how far we have come.

'It was simpler time'. We had more fun back then'. 'Everyone could afford a house'.

There's plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like?

In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes

Kindle Edition, 206 pages
Published November 1st 2018 by ABC Books (first published October 22nd 2018)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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 ·  1,734 ratings  ·  263 reviews

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Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 5000-2019
A highly entertaining book written by an equally entertaining author. It is one of those books where you have to keep reading bits out to anyone who will listen because the humorous lines are so real that you just want to share them.

I was actually in the UK and South Africa during the period Glover is describing but many of the events he describes were international. We really did prepare all those weird and wonderful meals and served them up at the dinner parties which were our main source of
My fave afternoon radio presenter shows us his flair again; he has the gift of the gab that's for sure! From horrible 70's food to politics, crime rates, child mortality, gender equality to holidays in the 70's, and the cringe worthy things our parents did back in the day.

Richard puts all this out there, then reflects, rather sensibly that so many of us say 'how much better things used to be'. Were they, really? He researched thoroughly, even going out to Kingswood to the State Archives, and
Jun 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“We didn’t even have iceberg lettuce. Well, we did – but it wasn’t called iceberg lettuce. It was just called lettuce. The reason? There were no other kinds.”

The Land Before Avocado is a book by Australian radio presenter and best-selling author, Richard Glover. In it he explores life in Australia during the time in which he grew up, the mid-sixties through to the mid-seventies. He explains that recent conversations with incredulous millennials about things both common and rare during that time
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
Technically I grew up in the 80’s, having been born in the early 1970’s, but so much of what Glover writes evokes memories of my childhood, from the pineapple ‘hedgehog’ cheese and onion appetisers, to the unbelted, smoke filled, weaving, courtesy of the ubiquitous cask wine in the bar fridge, car trips. I laughed aloud often at the nostalgic absurdity of it all.

However, The Land Before Avacado is also a sobering reminder of how far we have come as a culture. The status quo for baby boomers and
Jennifer (JC-S)
‘I grew up in The Land Before Avocado.’

This book takes me back. I am even older that Richard Glover, and I’m fairly sure I didn’t meet an avocado until about 1977. Sad, isn’t it? ‘The Land before Avocado’ takes some of us back to the decade between 1965 and 1975. It’s sobering to think that so many of you weren’t even born then.

Back in 1965, we were getting ready for the introduction of decimal currency on the 14th of February 1966. We spent a lot of time converting pounds, shillings and pence
Nov 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian
A very funny social commentary on Australia between about 1965 to 1975 with a serious side. A world of Ford Pills, Fancypants, board games, dodgy cooking, racism, sexism and all sorts of difference and cringe. “The world is a foreign country” may explain the theme of Glover’s work. But a foreign country that wasn’t so long ago. And how things have changed ... for the better.
David Sarkies
May 21, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Why the 70s were Bad
22 May 2019

When I started reading this book my first and immediate thought was that the author was trying to be Bill Bryson, particularly since Bryson actually wrote a book along similar lines, namely about his life growing up in 1950s America. Okay, this book is slightly different in that it is not so much about growing up in Australia in the 60s and 70s in the same way, namely because Bryson is able to personalise his accounts much more than the author of this book, who

I enjoyed some of the reflections - some of them were still relevant into the 80s, as I wasn't alive for any of the 60s and the majority of the 70s.

There were definitely things I didn't realise - I didn't know the flat white was an Australian idea! And it is difficult to imagine the police being called in because a cafe owner had decided to put a table and a couple of chairs outside so people could enjoy their tea/coffee in the sun! I also didn't realise that 1978/79 was the point at which
Kathy Manchester
Nov 23, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
i was so looking forward to this book after the wonderful Flesh Wounds - but oh, when an author has an axe to grind it completely ruins what could have been an interesting, observational piece of history. couldn’t finish it. it’s gone to vinnies... so sad
Sandy Papas
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I ended up reading half of this out loud to John and we often had tears really long down our faces. Many parts felt like a biography of my own childhood !

If you grew up in the 60s or 70s in Australia you MUST read this book. In fact it should be mandatory reading for all those people who yearn for the ‘good old days’ and it’s packed with facts and figures as to why. Some very valid points are made !
Carolyn Miles
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Glover is very well placed to write a commentary on how life has improved from the 1960s & 70s to the present. He is a brilliant observer and a wonderful optimist who backs up his claims with lots of research. There’s some laugh out loud moments, quite a bit of cringing but many more serious points. Besides our ruining of the planet, (which I find hard to put aside) as a culture we have come a long way. The brutality, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, crime, poverty and general lack of ...more
Oh how I bloody adored this book!
Wise and witty taking us from around 1965 to the present day. Some of it is memoir, that I can really relate to. The Author grew-up, only a few years ahead of me, in the same city. How familiar it all is.
He's also gleamed quite a bit from deep diving into archival footage of the times.
Nostalgic and informative critique of our "lucky" country.
Extremely excellent! Highly recommended!
Might be my best non-fiction read of the year.
Jan 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A nostalgic & often funny look back at the Australia of the 60’s-70’s.
Saturday's Child
Oct 08, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book made me laugh and cringe and gave me a few surprises. It made me reminisce about my childhood, but one thing is for certain it did not make me want to rush out and cook up a Spicy Meat Ring. This was a thoroughly entertaining read.
So many memories were dredged up with this book. I loved the snippets from the Womens Weekly ... I am sure I have read these. The food section made me laugh. Some of the chapters were harrowing. We have come a long way, and the author is correct, that in most ways the world is a better place.
Aug 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: already-owned
For someone brought up in the 1950’s, 1960’s, 1970’s, this book is a nostalgic trip down the old memory lane. Richard Glover has put in the time and effort with his research, and it’s made for a very interesting, and at times entertaining, read.

We’ve come a long way.

• Prior to 1966, legislation was in place that when a woman working in the Australian public service got married, she automatically lost her job.

• The Australian Labor Party supported the White Australia Policy until 1965, with
Rich Castles
Dec 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The past is a foreign country...”
I’m a little bit younger, but feel I grew up in the same country as RG - Canberra in the 70s. I laughed (out loud) at so much of the 70s cultural refuse. A lot of dittos and familiar nostalgic landmarks and signifiers. It’s when we see how much of our experience we share with strangers that we recognise the full power of culture in specific times and places. As for the later chapters, my parents were well-trained optimists - my mum a disciple of AB Facey’s
Feb 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a surprising read that I really enjoyed.

Over breakfast one morning the author told his son that when he was younger there was no avocado. His son was in disbelief. What followed was the author's exploration of what other parts of Australian society that we take for granted were alien prior to 1975.

I was born in 1976, however I grew up in a small country town and it takes a long time for things to change. Some of the things the author spoke about I had completely forgotten. Talking to my
Nikita De Gregorio
Well, what can I say. The book is entertaining and informative, with quirky descriptions of what life was like back then, the 60s and 70s. From Amplex personal tablets for internal body odour to that daily dose of Bex, I learnt how sexist and uninformed we were in the past. There are quite a few hilarious moments, sprinkled with truly confronting facts. However, by the end of the book I felt like I was being judged by the moral police, asking me to be more positive about things. Society was ...more
Jan 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting take on social commentary. Glover is at times hilarious (I kept interrupting my wife's reading with 'sorry you HAVE to listen to this"...and "yes I know you are going to read it but just listen to this for a moment!" He is honest about his upbringing and is sensible in his advice that many of us look back with rose coloured glasses when in fact some things were not as good in the 'early days' as they are now. On the down side of the book there is too much commentary on the food we ...more
Oct 14, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lightweight but enjoyable consideration of the immense social and cultural changes in Australia since the 1970s. It ranges from the difficulty getting divorced, the lack of safety measures, the awful food, the prosectution and public attitude towards homosexuality. Glover does his research and the audio version of him reading the book is good fun, though not quite as hilarious or as deep that I might have yearned for. No real surprises overall but I think his take home message - let us not ...more
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So funny I was grinning in the streets as I walked the dogs, so insightful that I’ve used the contents in almost all of the lessons I’ve taught this week, and so shocking you can’t help but feel hopeful about the future and our ability to progress as a society. Strongly recommend the audio version because Glover’s voice adds much to the experience.
Rob Barker
As a non-Australian it was very surprising to find many, many similarities to growing up in the 70’s in South Africa! Except that we did have avo :) While this book is funny, interesting and very well written, I think I might have missed some Aus-specific subtleties .. thus 3.5
Enjoyable, humorous book. I had to keep reading bits aloud to my husband and son. And texting friends. So much that I remember, things that seem strange now. The message: that change is possible, that the world is a better place but that we can continue to make changes for the better, is a powerful message.
Nicole Naunton
May 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating, hilarious, shocking, eye opening, disturbing. All the emotions.
Oct 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting look at Australian culture, and life in the late 1960's and early 1970's
Being a small child in the 1970's there were a few things I remembered, but a lot that I did not.
Attitudes about things like smoking, drinking, sunbathing were definitely a LOT different to today.
Richard Glover made this a very entertaining walk into recent history... and how things have changed over the years.
Sally Edsall
Dec 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australian, humour
The antidote to despindency about the modern world. This is MY era & almost everythibg in it is true. Ok, Glover doesn’t claim it, but it is implied: you still can’t get a decent coffee after 3pm, even ina major city.

I’m giving this to my man-bunned millenial son for xmas just to prove that his life is pretty bloody good.
Theresa Smith
‘I wondered: was this history’s first mention of what was to become the ‘smashed avo’ breakfast – that destroyer of dreams, that harbinger of doom, that squanderer of fortunes – now cited as a prime example of the frivolous spending that prevents today’s millennials from joining the housing market?’

This book! I haven’t enjoyed a non-fiction book this much since…hhmmm…maybe ever? It’s an absolute lark. Hilarious, yet at times a shade horrific, but ultimately always stunningly honest. I was born
Steve lovell
We’d have to go back to ‘The Secret Life of Us’ for a more engaging home grown tele comedy-drama series than ‘Offspring’. We’d have to go back to Clive James’ ‘Unreliable Memoirs’ for a funnier and more engrossing chronicle of growing up in Oz than ‘Flesh Wounds’. The award winning small-screen success that ran for seven seasons was written by Debra Oswald. The autobiography came from the pen of Richard Glover, Sydney newspaper columnist and radio identity. Both had new books, that I’ve just ...more
Ron Brown
A pleasant, humour filled reminisce of the 1960s and 70s. Some say if you can remember the 60s then you weren’t really there.
I do remember, and this was the 70s, being at Lismore Teachers College and observing the ordered rows of avocado trees on the hills of Wollongbar as I travelled to Byron to catch the waves at Wategos and The Pass.
Those of my generation will smile, snigger and even laugh at parts of this book, especially where he describes the food and fashions of the time.
I thought the
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Richard is a newsprint journalist and a Sydney radio broadcaster for the ABC.
“sufficiently novel it was described from scratch – ‘this is really an open-faced tart’ – and recommended as the ‘masterpiece’ that would provide the ‘climax’ to any cocktail party. Not only did ‘real men’ forgo quiche; all Australians did. Sydney appears to be a small town, where everyone knew each other. The authors – Ted Moloney and Deke Coleman – were able to reveal how individual dishes first arrived. Steak Diane, they say, was introduced to the country by a chef called Tony Clerici. There are only two private homes,” 0 likes
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