Australia : A Biography of a Nation

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Australia celebrated one hundred years as a nation in 2001. This book - part history, part travelogue, part memoir - tells the inspiring story of how a one-time British colony of convicts turned itself into a prosperous and confident country. Through the eyes of ordinary people, Phillip Knightley describes Australia's journey, from federation and the trauma of the First World War, the desperate poverty of the Depression, with its attendant spectres of secret armies and near-civil war, the threat of invasion in the Second World War and the immigration that followed it, and the slow but steady decline in the relationship with Britain, the 'Mother Country', as Australia forged its own unique more

Product details

  • Paperback | 384 pages
  • 130 x 198 x 28mm | 280g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099772914
  • 9780099772910
  • 92,739

Review quote

"Catches the feel of Australia brilliantly. His 350 pages tell you more of Australia's public history and secret life than any academic study ever could. Wonderful" The Times "Knightley deals skilfully and generously with all the great issues his country has faced" Independent "Gripping and comprehensive" Irish Times "A fine book...fascinating" Economistshow more

About R. M. Crawford

Phillip Knightley is the author of ten non-fiction books. He is best known for The Second Oldest Profession and The First Casualty: The War Correspondent as Hero, Propagandist and Myth Maker. He has met nearly every spy chief on both sides in the spy Cold War and spent one week with the British traitor Kim Philby in Moscow in 1988 debriefing him just before he died. For twenty years he was a special correspondent of The Sunday Times and a member of the Insight Team. He is now representative in Europe for the Washington-based International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and spends most of him time writing books and articles for publications around the more

Review Text

In the year of the Sydney Olympics it is hardly surprising that publishers are releasing books about the host country. Knightley's boigraphy takes us on an exploration of Australia, past and present, weaving historical facts with the intimacy of personal stories. He gives the reader an insight into how this young country, with a track record of appalling race discrimination and human rights abuses, has begun to redress past wrongs and turn itself into a working multi-cultural society. Focus is placed on the (now declining) relationship with Great Britain and clearly defines the differences between Australian and British attitudes to life. The book's first chapter moves from dusk to dawn in an Australian day with extraordinary 'real life' stories and fascinating facts. The book then plots the history from the first white settlers to today's 'fair dinkum' Aussie dude. Initial confrontations between Catholics and Protestants are examined, through the world wars, the depression, the threat of Communism and Australia's relationships with Asia, America and the UK. The mistreatment of the Aboriginals and their place in Australian history is covered with attention placed on the present-day attempts to redress the balance with the Native Title Bill and its subsequent problems. Beyond the historical, this book also attempts to explain the nature and personality of the modern day Australian. Knightley writes in a thrilling and exciting style whilst presenting the reader with his perspective on the country. He gives a precise account of the political climate and resulting social changes and as the title suggests, personifies the nation, depicting its struggle to find its own identity. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

75 ratings
4.04 out of 5 stars
5 29% (22)
4 49% (37)
3 17% (13)
2 4% (3)
1 0% (0)
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