GREAT SOUTHERN LAND - A NEW HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA

By: WELSH, FRANK

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GREAT SOUTHERN LAND - A NEW HISTORY OF AUSTRALIA by WELSH, FRANK
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Allen Lane, London 2004 1st Edition. The most comprehensive single-volume history of Australia, Frank Welsh's major new book - the first to be written by a non-Australian - draws on sources from Britain, the USA, South Africa and Canada as well as those in Australia to place the country's history fully in a world context, and expose many national myths, in a compelling narrative. From the earliest, largely speculative, Aboriginal societies, through the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 and the hesitant and haphazard development of the original colonies, the book traces the history of the land from scattered convict settlements to the formation of the Commonwealth of Australia in 1901 and on to today's independent nation. The astonishing speed of Australian development is a constant theme; within a generation of Lord John Russell's open invitation in 1850 to Australians to design their own constitutions, five colonies were fully functioning democratic societies, among the most advanced in the world. Today Australia leads almost all other nations in its standards of living. Although this book is full of admiration for Australia, nurtured over more than thirty years' experience, it also confronts the darker side of the nation's history: the long-continued 'White Australia' policy, which bedevilled Australian foreign policy for a century, reflected in Australia's enthusiastic support for the Vietnam War; the still tortured relationships with the Aboriginal peoples; the subordination of women; the flaws in the constitution, especially in the powers of the Australian Senate, which can make constructive legislation dependent on individuals' whims. Isolated from its natural friends - Britain until her unilateral declaration of independence in 1973 and the US thereafter generally forgetful of its faithful. Pacific ally - Australia also has an uneasy relationship with its Asian neighbours, which is examined fully. Original, provocative and witty, American Frank Welsh's Great Southern Land will take its place along with his previous much-praised books on Hong Kong and South Africa as a standard history. Black ink stripe to lower foredge otherwise in near pristine condition. Illustrated dust jacket over black cloth covered end boards. 720pp. 240 x 155mm

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