Tuesday, May 28, 2002

A Concise History of Australia





During my trip to Montreal, I finished reading Stuart MacIntyre's A Concise History of Australia. I had earlier read The Fatal Shore, and Christina is currently reading Syndey: The Story of a City, in preparation for our upcoming trip.

A Concise History of Australia is exactly what the title advertises, and exactly what I was looking for. It seems to be a very modern telling of the country's history. It acknowledges that the continent's human history goes back tens of thousands of years, not hundreds. But at the same time it recognizes that non-Aboriginal history is all we've got records of and concentrates on that. In general, where there's an attempt to dip into revisionist history, it mentions the new interpretations while recognizing the traditional view. One thing that I found interesting was the idea that as Australia becomes more diverse through immigration, its people are turning to Aboriginal history as a unifying factor to replace the Imperial history that is meaningful mostly just to the shrinking Anglo-Australian portion of the population. I recommend the book for anybody wanting a historical background before traveling to Australia (or for those who are just curious about the land Down Under).

It even finds time to mention the "dingo ate my baby" story.
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