Cover image for Australia : a biography of a nation
Australia : a biography of a nation
Knightley, Phillip.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
London : Jonathan Cape, 2000.
Physical Description:
vii, 373 pages ; 24 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DU110 .K58 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
DU110 .K58 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
DU110 .K58 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Part history, part travelogue, part memoir, this is the inspiring story of how a one-time British colony, settled by only two kinds of citizens - convicts and jailers - turned itself into a proud, prosperous and confident country, the greatest sporting nation on earth, where the citizens of its high-leisure cities enjoy a lifestyle that is the envy of the world. Through the eyes of ordinary people struggling with their passions, hopes, dreams and ambitions, Phillip Knightley describes the journey that has taken the Great South land from a dark, racist and often murderous past to a working multi-cultural society. The shocking treatment of the Aborigines, the determination of Australians to make a clean break from the ills of the Old World and create a new society where everyone had a "fair go", the love-hate relationship with Britain that led to the slow but traumatic detachment from "the Mother Country," drive this sweeping story of a people whose discovery of the "middle way" could serve as a guide for our future.

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Unlike a tourist guide to the many beautiful sites in Australia, this book offers the perspective of an insider looking in, as it chronicles the character of the nation. Knightley (The First Casualty: From the Crimea to Vietnam, etc.) loves his country but is not afraid to excoriate it when necessary. What emerges is a searing look at a nation struggling to come to grips with its history, a history that continues to shape public opinion to this day. Whether discussing the convicts who originally were sent to Australia from England, the aborigines who cautiously welcomed the white settlers, or the growing divisions between Australia and England, Knightley is forthright in his commentary and presents his information in a manner that will please historians and casual readers alike. In his In a Sunburned Country (LJ 6/1/00), Bill Bryson used humor and irony to present his observations about the nation; Knightley uses an iron glove sheathed in velvet to tell the story of his complex, beautiful country. Highly recommended for all public libraries. Joseph L. Carlson, Lompoc P.L., CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.