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Synopsis

Selected for the Grattan Institute’s 2012 Prime Minister’s Reading List

This is not a book of documents, snippets or worthy speeches. Instead it presents the original essays and the moments of insight that told us what Australia is and could be.

These are the essential statements – from historians, reporters, novelists, mavericks and visionaries – that take us from Federation to the present-day, and tell a story of national self-discovery.

There is the Frenchman who saw that Australia was a ‘workingman’s paradise’, and the historian who explained why.

The two reporters who realised the true significance of Gallipoli and conveyed it to the nation.

Russel Ward on the Australian Legend, Robin Boyd on the Australian Ugliness, Donald Horne on the Lucky Country, W.E.H. Stanner on the Great Australian Silence and Anne Summers on Manzone Country.

Real Matildas, Cultural Cringers, Future Eaters and Forgotten People – and much more.

Memorably written and cohesive, this is the essential sourcebook of the words that made Australia.

“a fascinating collection drawn from a range of genres.” - Law Society Journal

“This is a handy introduction to the themes of Australian identity.” - Sydney Morning Herald

Chris Feik is editor of Quarterly Essay, associate editor of the Monthly and publisher at Black Inc.

Robert Manne is professor of politics at La Trobe University and a regular commentator with the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald and ABC radio and television.

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