Australia: A New History of the Great Southern Land

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Overview

Australia: A New History of the Great Southern Land is a major new account that places Australia's history fully within a global context, drawing on sources from the United States, Britain, South Africa, and Canada, as well as within Australia itself.

In a compelling narrative, acclaimed historian Frank Welsh traces the history of the land from scattered convict settlements to the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 and on to today's thriving independent nation, exposing many national myths in the process. This book also explores the dark side of Australia's history: the long-continued "White Australia" policy, which bedeviled foreign policy for more than a century; the still-tortured official relationship with the Aboriginal peoples; the subordination of women; and the flaws in the constitution. Also examined is Australia's uneasy relationship with its Asian neighbors, and its isolation from Britain and the United States, its traditional allies.

Original, provocative, and witty, Australia is the most comprehensive single-volume history of Australia yet published. It makes a strong claim to becoming the standard work on this fascinating and often misunderstood country.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Welsh (The Four Nations: A History of the United Kingdom) likes to tackle big projects. Noting at the outset that he is in fact English, he writes effusively about Australia, citing UN indexes on health, education, and other quality-of-life measures on which the country gets top marks, placing it among the finalists as "the most successful society in the world." He then details its unpromising start, showing that it was repeatedly passed over by explorers, who thought its promise as a colony was poor. Australia's great distance from the mother country contributed to its distinct development as arguably the most independent of the former British colonies, though it remains a part of the Commonwealth. Comparing Australia to other Crown colonies, particularly South Africa, Welsh underscores the backward thinking that fueled white Australia's anti-aboriginal policy, which lasted from the 19th century through the 1960s and was harsher even than Jim Crow. Where Robert Hughes's The Fatal Shore fixed on Australia's origins as a penal colony, Welsh's narrative finishes with current events. Bogging down a little in the inevitable political hopscotch of Whigs and Tories, he tries to keep the tone light, helped by some of the personalities he sketches. As Welsh notes, the U.S. media offer relatively little coverage of Australia, and he hopes to correct that imbalance. In that spirit, his book is recommended for public and academic libraries.-Robert Moore, Bristol Myers Squibb Co., North Billerica, MA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781585678617
  • Publisher: Overlook Press, The
  • Publication date: 7/29/2008
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 768
  • Sales rank: 1,416,867
  • Product dimensions: 6.04 (w) x 8.94 (h) x 1.75 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Terra Australis nondum cognita
2 The New Australians
3 Whigs and tories
4 Occupied notices
5 Representative government
6 The capacity of govern themselves
7 The transition to responsible government
8 Exploration and expansion
9 Federation
10 The commonwealth feels its way
11 War and peace
12 The Second World War and its aftermath
13 The shadows of Vietnam
14 It's time
15 The coalition strikes back
App Australian and British rulers
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