In the third volume of Thomas Keneally's unique history of Australia - where he shines a light on the lives and deeds of our countrymen and women, both known and unknown - he takes up the story at the end of the Great War and explores our development as a nation during the tumultuous 20th century.
Australia emerged from World War I into a decade of profound change, characterised by a revolution in behaviour amongst the young; by the first great age of consumerism; and by secret right wing armies and the growth of the Communist Party.
As in the two previous volumes of Australians, Thomas Keneally brings history to vivid and pulsating life as he traces the lives and the deeds of Australians known and unknown. He follows the famous and the infamous through the Great Crash and the rise of Fascism, and explains how Australia was inexorably drawn into a war that led her forces into combat throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific. At home an atmosphere of fear grew with the fall of Singapore and the bombing of Darwin, the Japanese advance and then the arrival of General MacArthur.
The 1950s-depicted by some as an age of full employment, by others as the age of suburban spread and boredom under the serene prime ministership of Robert Menzies-were as complicated as Menzies himself. Most Australians believed there would be nuclear war before the end of the decade. The Korean War and British testing of the atomic bomb in South Australia were seen as preludes. With the defection of the Soviet spy Ivan Petrov, Australians were convinced they were living in the last of days. On the street, the face of Australia was undergoing an Italian, Greek and Slavic-led change. And in even greater upheaval, Asian trade and immigration were coming our way as we advanced towards a war in Vietnam and the firming of the American alliance. The result of masterly writing and exhaustive research, this volume of Australians brings our more recent history to vibrant and robust life.
Read Caroline Baum's Review
The difference between a history of Australia and a history of Australians is this is about us, the ordinary people and how we respond to events.
With his inimitable ability and exuberance in creating a compelling narrative and elevating anecdote to a higher level, Keneally presents an accessible, entertaining, brisk collection of characters, some major, many minor, who helped shape and define the nation and participate in its progress. He quotes from diaries and letters, tells stories of small heroism and big ideals. You can’t help but feel inspired even with a brief dip into the pages of this handsome and hefty volume. There is a sense of momentum, optimism and progress despite the mistakes and prejudices of the past. His portraits of politicians remind readers of the private frailties behind decisive gestures and solemn moments.
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 640
Published: 22nd October 2014
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.5 x 17.2
Weight (kg): 1.57