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Not Your Usual Australian Tales: a social history, from Invasion to Federation by [Macinnis, Peter]
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Not Your Usual Australian Tales: a social history, from Invasion to Federation Kindle Edition


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Kindle, 18 Apr 2017
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Length: 1046 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English
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Product description

Product Description

Australians: this book fleshes out the bald, dead-white-male hero story you learned at school. It introduces new characters (not all of them white, or male, or heroes); provides contexts; and encourages you to ask your own questions.

Non-Australians: Mark Twain explains why you should read this book:

“Australian history … does not read like history, but like the most beautiful lies. And all of a fresh new sort, no mouldy old stale ones. It is full of surprises, and adventures, and incongruities, and contradictions, and incredibilities; but they are all true, they all happened.”

Here, you will meet reformed would-be assassins who fought bushrangers; the first cases of redbacks on the dunny seat; the truth about bunyips and the crocodile in Sydney’s Rocks; methods for getting rid of fleas; how horse thieves worked; what had to be done before paddle steamers could run on the Murray River; the Russian invasion ‘scare’ in Melbourne; duels fought by foolish men; a scandal over a dead horse; cruel treatment dished out to coolies; wrecks, floods, bushfires, droughts and plague; booms and busts; early schools and early poets: some sublime and some awful.

The real history of Australia, the untold stuff, has many diversions, like the case of the society ladies who stood on their chairs, waving their handkerchiefs: their action was one of the starting points for the book, and in chapter 48, you will learn why they did it.

The real Australian history is very different from the packaged stuff that you get from written and dramatic fiction in books. The judges weren’t all monsters, screaming “Hang Them!”. Judges often worked very hard to save prisoners from the gallows (even Samuel Burt, who really wanted to hang!). That said, quite a few of the convicts were serious villains, who did far more than “steal a loaf of bread to feed their hungry children”.

Then again, some of the other convicts were political prisoners, and at least one was falsely convicted: you’ll find all of those here, and you’ll also learn that transported convicts weren’t kept below decks, in chains, the whole voyage — and Norfolk Island wasn’t always the hell-hole it was in later years.

Then again, squatters weren’t always rich, the first bushrangers weren’t thieves, and Edward Hammond Hargraves wasn’t the first to discover gold — in fact, he never did discover gold, but he conspired to make Australia’s gold rush happen. Oh, yes, and if you learned about explorers at school, they weren’t all heroes, some were villains, and some of them were fools.

The surprises didn’t stop there: specialist pedants will tell you that Matthew Flinders was the first to use the name ‘Australia’, but this book offers two earlier sources for that name. Then again, pop history has swimming only starting with ‘neck-to-knee’ costumes in the 1890s: sorry, but your ancestors, if you are Australian, probably skinny-dipped. Certainly, the nation’s first swimming races came off with it all off, so to speak.

In short, this book tells it like it was, but more importantly, in the age of Fake News and Alternative Facts, this book gives you the sources, so you can ask the important questions:
* what happened before that?
* do you really expect us to believe that? And
* what happened next?

Peter Macinnis is an award-winning Australian writer for both adults and children, and his awards come from the Children's Book Council of Australia, the West Australian Premier’s Literary Awards, the Wilderness Society, and the Royal Zoological Society of New South Wales, among others.

Trained as a biologist, he cares about the stories behind things, and so he has become well-regarded as an historian. He also talks on ABC Radio National from time to time, sometimes teaches adults how to do extreme research and data handling, and thoroughly enjoys being the visiting scientist at his local K-6 school.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4379 KB
  • Print Length: 1046 pages
  • Publisher: Peter Macinnis (18 April 2017)
  • Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07228PDSX
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #86,785 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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