The Underground History of Australia, from Gold Rush to GFC
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One of our finest writers on one of our most dramatic stories.
Mining divides the country – development against conservation, north-and-west against south-and-east, pro-tax against anti-tax. It's an important industry, but why do passions run so high? What does mining really mean to us? And how much do we understand about our underground history?
Although we favour the romantic vision of Australia riding to prosperity on the sheep's back, in reality we have always owed as much to the shovel. The gold rush kick-started the nation, populating our cities and building our regional centres, and our fortunes have both risen and fallen according to what we've been able to dig from the ground.
To describe mining's place in the Australian story, Boom presents not a textbook history, but a narrative of the people behind the facts and figures, from the eccentric loners who staked the first claims to the emergence of the modern mega-magnates. It takes us deep underground with men working in extraordinary danger by candlelight, and on the extraordinary journey 25,000 tonnes of the raw Australian landscape makes from the Pilbara to Shanghai.
Boom reveals the history of mining as the Australian story, for better or worse. Insightful, compellingly readable and full of extraordinary characters, it shows how mining and miners have shaped our history and gripped our imagination through boom and bust.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
Mining is like meat eating, says Malcolm Knox. It's an intriguing comparison, typical of this lively and timely take on the national preoccupation with digging up our resources.
Although the subject may not be of universal appeal, you can be sure that award-winning journalist and novelist Knox has created a compelling narrative that blends history and current social and political debate. He animates the industrial landscape with a cast of erratic characters, from the early diggers to today's magnates, making the facts and figures human.
It's a significant contribution to our understanding of who we are economically and culturally.
About the Author
Malcolm Knox's novels include The Life and the Ned Kelly Award-winning A Private Man, and his many non-fiction titles include The Greatest: The Players, the Moments, the Matches 1993-2008 and The Captains: The Story Behind Australia's Second Most Important Job.