Hot Best Seller

Australia: A Biography of a Nation

Availability: Ready to download

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 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 eyes of ordinary people struggling with their passions, hopes, dreams and ambitions, Phillip Knightley describes the journey that has taken the Great South land from a dark, racist and often murderous past to a working multi-cultural society. The shocking treatment of the Aborigines, the determination of Australians to make a clean break from the ills of the Old World and create a new society where everyone had a "fair go", the love-hate relationship with Britain that led to the slow but traumatic detachment from "the Mother Country," drive this sweeping story of a people whose discovery of the "middle way" could serve as a guide for our future.


Compare

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 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 eyes of ordinary people struggling with their passions, hopes, dreams and ambitions, Phillip Knightley describes the journey that has taken the Great South land from a dark, racist and often murderous past to a working multi-cultural society. The shocking treatment of the Aborigines, the determination of Australians to make a clean break from the ills of the Old World and create a new society where everyone had a "fair go", the love-hate relationship with Britain that led to the slow but traumatic detachment from "the Mother Country," drive this sweeping story of a people whose discovery of the "middle way" could serve as a guide for our future.

30 review for Australia: A Biography of a Nation

  1. 5 out of 5

    Tanya

    Phillip Knightley's Australia: A Biography of a Nation is a hard book to categorize. Parts of it read like dry academic text, parts are very anecdotal, a whole chapter sings the praises of Australian sports teams, and in places the author reminisces about his childhood. Sometimes I was bored (1970s political machinations don't interest me much), and other times I was absorbed (yes, explain to me how in 30 years "White Australia" turned into a multicultural society?). Of all the books I've read i Phillip Knightley's Australia: A Biography of a Nation is a hard book to categorize. Parts of it read like dry academic text, parts are very anecdotal, a whole chapter sings the praises of Australian sports teams, and in places the author reminisces about his childhood. Sometimes I was bored (1970s political machinations don't interest me much), and other times I was absorbed (yes, explain to me how in 30 years "White Australia" turned into a multicultural society?). Of all the books I've read in preparation for my upcoming trip to Australia, this one did the best job of showing me WHO the people of the great continent really are. I'm really glad I read it. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Žilvinas Zubė

    Įsitraukimas ir susidomėjimas, skaitant šią knygą, banguoja. Papasakojama tarsi daug įdomių dalykų: santykių kaita su Didžiąja Britanija, aborigenų diskriminavimas, naikininas ir vėliau įvykęs atsiprašymas, taikyta Baltosios Australijos imigracinė politika, australų dalyvavimas I ir II pasauliniuose karuose, kasdienis narkotikų vartojimas XX amžiuje, besitęsęs svarstymas, ar Australija turi būti anglo, ar multi bei išskirtiniai vietinių charakterių bruožai leidę šaliai tapti išskirtine valstybe. Įsitraukimas ir susidomėjimas, skaitant šią knygą, banguoja. Papasakojama tarsi daug įdomių dalykų: santykių kaita su Didžiąja Britanija, aborigenų diskriminavimas, naikininas ir vėliau įvykęs atsiprašymas, taikyta Baltosios Australijos imigracinė politika, australų dalyvavimas I ir II pasauliniuose karuose, kasdienis narkotikų vartojimas XX amžiuje, besitęsęs svarstymas, ar Australija turi būti anglo, ar multi bei išskirtiniai vietinių charakterių bruožai leidę šaliai tapti išskirtine valstybe. Visgi dažnai nuo lakoniškų istorijų, išgyvenimų aprašymų ir lengvo pasakojimo pereinama prie perdėtai detalaus, nuobodaus politinio proceso, profesinių sąjungų veiklos aprašymo, kuris apart besidominčio istorija australo, tikriausiai yra niekam neįdomus ir verčiantis mesti skaityti šią knygą. Beje reikia atkreipti dėmesį, kad knyga išleista prieš 20 metų, todel pačios naujausios istorijos apžvalgos jose nėra. Skaitant buvo smagu atrasti, kad Australija taikydama White only imigracinę politiką, siekė prisikviesti į save labiausiai panašius, o tokie gyveno Baltijos šalyse. "The Baltic countries, home of beautiful Balts, were an ideal recruiting ground. (...) There were also a number of natural platinum blondes of both sexes. The men were handsome and women beautiful."

  3. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    I have been in love with the idea of Australia since I was a small child and one of those magazines like Ranger Rick had an article about the wave rocks near Perth. Then I picked up this book in 2002/2003 and read the first chapters. A government that took care of its people?! Health care that is fiscally manageable for the average person. I was in love. (What’s the term for someone in love with Australia? There are anglophiles and francophiles...) However I did not get beyond chapter 3 all those I have been in love with the idea of Australia since I was a small child and one of those magazines like Ranger Rick had an article about the wave rocks near Perth. Then I picked up this book in 2002/2003 and read the first chapters. A government that took care of its people?! Health care that is fiscally manageable for the average person. I was in love. (What’s the term for someone in love with Australia? There are anglophiles and francophiles...) However I did not get beyond chapter 3 all those years ago and I have to say...it’s a shame I didn’t. I think this book is possibly the best piece of advertisement for Australia I have ever held in my hands. I also think that in this current climate of Trump and sexism and racism in America this book gives me hope. We had a Whitlam-esque character for 8 years and now we’re suffering under a Hanson-esque leader. I only hope we come out as well as Australia did.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Vito

    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 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 my opinion, is essential when talking about Australia. With this book I now feel like I have the basics to read more complex books about specific Australian historic events.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Achyut

    I read this book on the flight to Australia when I was visiting the country for the first time. It helped me get a nice overview of the country and its current cultural context. The book starts, perhaps fittingly so, with the arrival of Europeans in Australia. And indeed,despite all its efforts to integrate its non-white citizens (the book provides interesting details about the non-aboriginal groups in this category), the country is dominated by Caucasian (English, predominantly) culture. This d I read this book on the flight to Australia when I was visiting the country for the first time. It helped me get a nice overview of the country and its current cultural context. The book starts, perhaps fittingly so, with the arrival of Europeans in Australia. And indeed,despite all its efforts to integrate its non-white citizens (the book provides interesting details about the non-aboriginal groups in this category), the country is dominated by Caucasian (English, predominantly) culture. This domination definitely extends to all the cultural aspects of Australia that you as a regular tourist will be exposed to. Worth a breezy read to get a very preliminary feel of the country.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Zac Hale

    A succinct but diligent discussion of the history of one of the youngest demographics in the world. I see Australia with greater complexity now with its hypocrisies and atrocities but also its conscience and soul, ultimately a story of collective coming of age. Felt like history done well and scratched a particular itch that had been living in some deep antechamber close to my heart for a while. Just for a second in this deep English midnight I hear the kookaburras call.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Theres

    I'd recommend this if you really want to know Australian history (up to 2001 - I'll need to go look for something more recent now). Looks drier than it is! But if you're not that bothered it's probably too much to wade through. I'd recommend this if you really want to know Australian history (up to 2001 - I'll need to go look for something more recent now). Looks drier than it is! But if you're not that bothered it's probably too much to wade through.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A bit of a slow start at first, but overall, an excellent overview of the country and a perfect way to prepare you for a visit.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Some interesting chapters but a bit of a slog; more military history than I’d expected.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Will JH

    Excellent introduction to Australia’s history, focusing on the years since Federation.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    I really enjoyed this. It's interesting and I learnt a lot. I'd've liked one or two photos but overall it's a really good read. I really enjoyed this. It's interesting and I learnt a lot. I'd've liked one or two photos but overall it's a really good read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sally Edsall

    Not bad; a few inaccuracies.

  13. 5 out of 5

    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 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 extend it's an accurate description. I'm not sure how it would read to an Australian, or a person more familiar with the events, but as an outsider it very much made me want to find out more. A wonderful book, I wish someone has written a similar biography for my nation.

  14. 4 out of 5

    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. 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.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jared

    When I ordered this for background reading for my University course I was expecting a historical text. Whilst it did go into more historical events later on, it read more like a novel than non-fiction and it was not as detailed as I would have liked. For easy access Australian history pick this up.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ianto

    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. 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.

  17. 5 out of 5

    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.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    I'm so excited to go to Australia! I'm so excited to go to Australia!

  19. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    My least enjoyed book of the year. Reads like a novel, when I hoped for a historical book about Australia.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    It was interesting for the majority of the book, but my interested waned in the last few chapters...

  21. 4 out of 5

    Kersti Anear

    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.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie Greywood

  23. 5 out of 5

    Tim Donovan

  24. 4 out of 5

    Matt Loten

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan

  26. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  27. 5 out of 5

    Stephen Hinks

  28. 5 out of 5

    Guido

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tasha Hooper

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sandra Menant

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...