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.
Rise of the Right
To those who think of Australia as a highly successful democracy that has built a diverse society with respect for liberal values, a proposition that this is all at risk might seem alarmist. But the history of the past two decades in this country's political and social narrative, and now the global trend towards isolation, protectionism and authoritarianism, as well as the 'them and us' fear-mongering happening around the world, ought to raise the question as to whether the foundations of Australian liberal democracy are so secure that we are immune to the threats without and within. Rise of the Right is a fascinating account from one of Australia's leading political journalists and is essential reading for anyone interested in Australian politics.
No Friend but the Mountains
Where have I come from? From the land of rivers, the land of waterfalls, the land of ancient chants, the land of mountains... In 2013, Kurdish journalist Behrouz Boochani was illegally detained on Manus Island. He has been there ever since. People would run to the mountains to escape the warplanes and found asylum within their chestnut forests... This book is the result. Laboriously tapped out on a mobile phone and translated from the Farsi. It is a voice of witness, an act of survival. A lyric first-hand account. A cry of resistance. A vivid portrait through five years of incarceration and exile. Do Kurds have any friends other than the mountains?
Winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Prize for Literature and Non-Fiction 2019.
The Land Before Avocado
A funny and frank look at the way Australia used to be - and just how far we have come. ‘It was simpler time’. 'We had more fun back then'. ‘Everyone could afford a house’. There’s plenty of nostalgia right now for the Australia of the past, but what was it really like? In The Land Before Avocado, Richard Glover takes a journey back to an almost unrecognisable Australia.
On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, a man lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno. In the Valley, where the rates of crime were the highest in the state, more than thirty people were known to police as firebugs. But the detectives soon found themselves on the trail of a man they didn’t know.
The Arsonist takes readers on the hunt for this man, and inside the strange puzzle of his mind. A powerful real-life thriller written with Hooper’s trademark lyric detail and nuance, The Arsonist is a reminder that in an age of fire, all of us are gatekeepers.
Winner of the Indie Book Awards 2019.
Longlisted for the Stella Prize 2019.
Rusted Off: Why Country Australia Is Fed Up
Telling the story of Australia as it is today, Gabrielle Chan has gone hyper-local. In Rusted Off, she looks to her own rural community’s main street for answers to the big questions driving voters. Why are we so fed up with politics? Why are formerly rusted-on country voters deserting major parties in greater numbers than their city cousins? Can ordinary people teach us more about the way forward for government?
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. 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. 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.
Burke & Wills: The Triumph and Tragedy of Australia's Most Famous Explorers
Strongly grounded in empirical research and context, Burke & Wills has much to commend it. It will undoubtedly please the author's established readership, and its enthusiastic and colourful prose style will no doubt serve to encourage younger readers to develop a passion for Australian history. - Weekend Australian
Judges for 2016 NSW Premier's Literary Awards Dark Emu puts forward an argument for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer tag for pre-colonial 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 in Dark Emu comes from the records and diaries of the Australian explorers, impeccable sources.
Tracker is 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.
Winner of the Stella Prize 2018.
Deep Time Dreaming: Uncovering Ancient Australia
Deep Time Dreaming is about a slow shift in national consciousness. It explores what it means to live in a place of great antiquity, with its complex questions of ownership and identity. It brings to life the deep time dreaming that has changed the way many Australians relate to their continent and its enduring, dynamic human history. When John Mulvaney began his fieldwork in January 1956, it was widely believed that the first Australians had arrived on this continent only a few thousand years earlier. In the decades since, Australian history has been pushed back into the dizzying expanse of deep time.
Talking to my Country
This is Stan Grant's 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?
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.
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.
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 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.
A Shorter History of Australia
A broad, concise and inclusive vision of Australia and Australians by one our most renowned historians. After a lifetime of research and debate on Australian and international history, Geoffrey Blainey is well-placed to introduce us to the people who have played a part and to guide us through the events that have created the Australian identity- the mania for spectator sport; the suspicion of the tall poppy; the rivalries of Catholic and Protestant, Sydney and Melbourne, new and old homelands and new and old allies; the conflicts of war abroad and race at home; the importance of technology; defining the outback; the rise and rise of the mining industry; the recognition of our Aboriginal past and Native Title; the successes and failures of the nation.
1835: The Founding of Melbourne & the Conquest of Australia
With the founding of Melbourne in 1835, a flood of settlers began spreading out across the Australian continent. In three years more land - and more people - was conquered than in the preceding fifty. In 1835 James Boyce brings this pivotal moment to life. He traces the power plays in Hobart, Sydney and London, and describes the key personalities of Melbourne's early days. He conjures up the Australian frontier - its complexity, its rawness and the way its legacy is still with us today. And he asks the poignant question largely ignored for 175 years; could it have been different? With his first book, Van Dieman's Land, Boyce introduced an utterly fresh approach to the nation's history.
The Biggest Estate on Earth
Across Australia, early Europeans commented again and again that the land looked like a park. With extensive grassy patches and pathways, open woodlands and abundant wildlife, it evoked a country estate in England. Bill Gammage has discovered this was because Aboriginal people managed the land in a far more systematic and scientific fashion than we have ever realised. For over a decade, Gammage has examined written and visual records of the Australian landscape. He has uncovered an extraordinarily complex system of land management using fire and the life cycles of native plants to ensure plentiful wildlife and plant foods throughout the year.
The Fatal Shore
In 1787, the twenty-eighth year of the reign of King George III, the British Government sent a fleet to colonize Australia. An epic description of the brutal transportation of men, women and children out of Georgian Britain into a horrific penal system which was to be the precursor to the Gulag and was the origin of Australia. The Fatal Shore is the prize-winning, scholarly, brilliantly entertaining narrative that has given its true history to Australia.
Go to top of page.