Our Australian section contains Australian indigenous, social, environmental, and political history, as well as biography, pictorial books, and Australian current affairs.
If you can't find what you are after, please contact us via our enquiries page.
A Scandal in Bohemia
In A Scandal in Bohemia, Gideon Haigh explodes the true crime genre with a murder story about life as well as death. Armed with only a single photograph and echoes of Mollie’s voice, he has reassembled the precarious life of a talented woman - creatively ambitious, sexually precocious, a poet, aspiring novelist and muse on the peripheries of Melbourne’s bohemian salons - until one night in 1930 she was brutally slain by an unknown killer in a laneway while walking home. The mystery of her death rendered more mysterious her life, and Mollie’s story has lingered, most notably in George Johnston’s classic My Brother Jack.
On Borrowed Time
In On Borrowed Time, Manne applies his brilliant mind to the topics that have shaped our world over the last five years, including climate change, the media, Australia's asylum seeker policy, and Wikileaks. This provocative and challenging book features essays on Donald Trump's alleged links to Russia, Malcolm Turnbull's leadership, the ideas driving Islamic State, and a searing critique of Jonathan Franzen's views on climate change activists.
In 2008 Clive Hamilton was at Parliament House in Canberra when the Beijing Olympic torch relay passed through. He watched in bewilderment as a small pro-Tibet protest was overrun by thousands of angry Chinese students. Where did they come from? Why were they so aggressive? And what gave them the right to shut down others exercising their democratic right to protest? The authorities did nothing about it, and what he saw stayed with him. In 2016 it was revealed that wealthy Chinese businessmen linked to the Chinese Communist Party had become the largest donors to both major political parties. Hamilton realised something big was happening, and decided to investigate the Chinese government's influence in Australia. What he found shocked him. From politics to culture, real estate to agriculture, universities to unions, and even in our primary schools, he uncovered compelling evidence of the Chinese Communist Party's infiltration of Australia.
A collective memoir of one of Aboriginal Australia's most charismatic leaders and an epic portrait of a period in the life of a country, reminiscent in its scale and intimacy of the work of Nobel Prize-winning Russian author Svetlana Alexievich. Miles Franklin Award-winning novelist Alexis Wright returns to non-fiction in her new book, Tracker, a collective memoir of the charismatic Aboriginal leader, political thinker, and entrepreneur who died in Darwin in 2015. Taken from his family as a child and brought up in a mission on Croker Island, Tracker Tilmouth returned home to transform the world of Aboriginal politics. He worked tirelessly for Aboriginal self-determination, creating opportunities for land use and economic development in his many roles, including Director of the Central Land Council. He was a visionary and a projector of ideas, renowned for his irreverent humour and his anecdotes. His memoir has been composed by Wright from interviews with Tilmouth himself, as well as with his family, friends, and colleagues, weaving his and their stories together into a book that is as much a tribute to the role played by storytelling in contemporary Aboriginal life as it is to the legacy of a remarkable man.
Winner of the Stella Prize 2018.
The Bible in Australia
The revelatory story of the Bible in Australia, from the convict era to the Mabo land rights campaign, Nick Cave, the Bra Boys, and beyond. Thought to be everything from the word of God to a resented imposition, the Bible has been debated, painted, rejected, translated, read, gossiped about, preached, and tattooed.
Talking to my Country
In July 2015, as the debate over Adam Goodes being booed at AFL games raged and got ever more heated and ugly, Stan Grant wrote a short but powerful piece for The Guardian that went viral, not only in Australia but right around the world, shared over 100,000 times on social media. His was a personal, passionate and powerful response to racism in Australia and the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an indigenous man. This is his very personal meditation on what it means to be Australian, what it means to be indigenous, and what racism really means in this country. Talking to My Country is that rare and special book that talks to every Australian about their country - what it is, and what it could be. It is not just about race, or about indigenous people but all of us, our shared identity. Stan might not have all the answers but he wants us to keep on asking the question: how can we be better? Winner of the 2016 Walkley Book Award and the 2016 National Trust Heritage Award, and shortlisted for the 2016 NIB Waverley Library Award and the 2016 Queensland Literary Award.
In Search of Good Government
With the politics of rage and resentment dominating many Western nations, Laura Tingle’s calm, perceptive analysis is more relevant than ever. What has happened to good government? Can Malcolm Turnbull apply the lessons of the past to put things right? When leaders surf the wave of discontentment all the way to power, how do they deal with our great expectations? In her crisp, profound and witty essays, Laura Tingle seeks answers to these questions.
In this side-splitting sequel to his best-selling history Girt, David Hunt takes us to the Australian frontier. This was the Wild South, home to hardy pioneers, gun-slinging bushrangers, directionally challenged explorers, nervous indigenous people, Caroline Chisholm and sheep. Lots of sheep. True Girt introduces Thomas Davey, the hard-drinking Tasmanian governor who invented the Blow My Skull cocktail, and Captain Moonlite, Australia's most famous LGBTI bushranger. Meet William Nicholson, the Melbourne hipster who gave Australia the steam-powered coffee roaster and the world the secret ballot. And say hello to Harry, the first camel used in Australian exploration, who shot dead his owner, the explorer John Horrocks. If Manning Clark and Bill Bryson were left on a desert island with only one pen, they would write True Girt.
While most of us live in cities clinging to the coastal fringe, our sense of what an Australian is, or should be, is drawn from the vast and varied inland called the bush. But what do we mean by 'the bush', and how has it shaped us? Starting with his forebears' battle to drive back nature and eke a living from the land, Don Watson explores the bush as it was and as it now is- the triumphs and the ruination, the commonplace and the bizarre, the stories we like to tell about ourselves and the national character, and those we don't. A milestone work of memoir, travel writing and history, The Bush takes us on a profoundly revelatory and entertaining journey through the Australian landscape and character.
Swallowed by the Sea: The Story of Australian Shipwrecks
Stories of Australia's greatest and most tragic shipwrecks, lost in raging storms, on jagged reefs, under enemy fire, or through human error, treachery or incompetence. The violent wrecking of ships is only part of the story. Maritime archaeologist Graeme Henderson has personally located and dived many of the shipwrecks in this book. Alongside historical paintings and photographs of original objects, the book includes colour underwater photographs of the dive sites with specially written recollections by members of the diving crew. From English and Dutch trading vessels in the seventeenth century to emigrant ships in the nineteenth century and the great warships of the Second World War, Swallowed by the Sea explains how each ship was wrecked and discovered, and what remains of the wrecks today.
Kin: A Real People's History of Our Nation
Join historian and archaeologist, Nick Brodie as he traces his family back to their first arrivals in Australia . As their lives intersect, Kin provides a unique historical insight into Australia's past: colonies grow and wars are fought as Nick follows his people and their children across land and sea, in their everyday occupations and through their hardships and most memorable events. From convicts, goldminers and sailors, to high country horsemen, nurses and soldiers- and almost everyone in between. Kin is about generations of real people living real lives
The Story of Australia's People: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia (Vol.1)
The vast continent of Australia was settled in two main streams, far apart in time and origin. The first came ashore some 50,000 years ago when the islands of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea were one.The long Aboriginal occupation of Australia witnessed spectacular changes. Over millennia, the Aboriginal people mastered the land's climates, seasons and resources. Traditional Aboriginal life came under threat the moment Europeans crossed the world to plant a new society in an unknown land. That land in turn rewarded, tricked, tantalised and often defeated the new arrivals. In this book Professor Geoffrey Blainey has changed his view about vital aspects of the Indigenous and early British history of this land, and looked at other aspects for the first time. Compelling, groundbreaking and brilliantly readable, The Story of Australia's People: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia is the first instalment of an ambitious two-part work, and the culmination of the lifework of Australia's most prolific and wide-ranging historian.
The Wife Drought
.'I need a wife' It's a common joke among women juggling work and family. But it's not actually a joke. Having a spouse who takes care of things at home is a Godsend on the domestic front. It's a potent economic asset on the work front. And it's an advantage enjoyed - even in our modern society - by vastly more men than women. Working women are in an advanced, sustained, and chronically under-reported state of wife drought, and there is no sign of rain. But why is the work-and-family debate always about women? Why don't men get the same flexibility that women do? In our fixation on the barriers that face women on the way into the workplace, do we forget about the barriers that - for men - still block the exits? Crabb's call is for a ceasefire in the gender wars. Rather than a shout of rage, The Wife Drought is the thoughtful, engaging catalyst for a conversation that's long overdue.
Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for precolonial Aboriginal Australians. The evidence insists that Aboriginal people right across the continent were using domesticated plants, sowing, harvesting, irrigating and storing - behaviours inconsistent with the hunter-gatherer tag. Gerritsen and Gammage in their latest books support this premise but Pascoe takes this further and challenges the hunter-gatherer tag as a convenient lie. Almost all the evidence comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.
Go to top of page.