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‘A loving history of the Australian people’ – Sydney Morning Herald
’…displays historical literacy, and plenty of humanity, empathy and compassion, all qualities rare in our public culture to be cherished when we find them.’ – Weekend Australian
As in the two previous volumes of Australians, Thomas Keneally brings history to vivid and pulsating life. He traces the lives and the deeds of Australians known and unknown as the nation emerged from World War I into a decade of profound change through the Great Crash, the rise of Fascism and growth of the Communist Party. He explains how Australia was inexorably drawn into a war that led her forces into combat throughout Asia, Africa, Europe and the Pacific. At home an atmosphere of fear grew with the fall of Singapore and the bombing of Darwin, the Japanese advance and then the arrival of General MacArthur.
The 1950s-depicted by some as an age of full employment, by others as the age of suburban spread and boredom under the serene prime ministership of Robert Menzies-were as complicated as Menzies himself. Most Australians believed there would be nuclear war before the end of the decade. The Korean War and British testing of the atomic bomb in South Australia were seen as preludes. With the defection of the Soviet spy Ivan Petrov, Australians were convinced they were living in the last of days. On the street, the face of Australia was undergoing an Italian, Greek and Slavic-led change. And in even greater upheaval, Asian trade and immigration were coming our way as we advanced towards a war in Vietnam and the firming of the American alliance.
The result of masterly writing and exhaustive research, this volume of Australians brings our more recent history to vibrant and robust life.
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