In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia's past, from megafauna to Macquarie - the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.
Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of "felony of sock," and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.
It recounts the misfortunes of the escaped Irish convicts who set out to walk from Sydney to China, guided only by a hand-drawn paper compass, and explains the role of the coconut in Australia's only military coup.
Our nation's beginnings are steeped in the strange, the ridiculous and the frankly bizarre. Girt proudly reclaims these stories for all of us.
Not to read it would be un-Australian
"A sneaky, sometimes shocking peek under the dirty rug of Australian history." - John Birmingham
"Hilarious and insightful -- Hunt has found the deep wells of humour in Australia's history." - Chris Taylor, The Chaser
Three bargain-priced bestsellers in one box! This box set includes:
Ocean's Trial (#2)
Ocean's Triumph (#3)
Cast adrift on the Indian Ocean, eighteen-year-old Maria is saved by the crew of the steamship Trevessa.
She can't tell them her tragic tale, so the superstitious sailors make up their own stories – and some would sacrifice her to the seas to save themselves from the coming storm.
Scottish engineer William McGregor boarded the Trevessa in search of adventure. He finds a crew convinced their ship is cursed, as he fights to protect the mysterious girl and bring her safely to shore.
When the sharks start circling and the storm closes in, are sirens more than just a myth?
Smuggled ashore by the kind widow Merry D'Angelo, Maria begins her new life in the colonial port city of Fremantle.
With the help of a young fisherman named Tony, she fights to find her place among a people so different to her own.
Yet danger lurks beneath the surface of the turbulent harbour waters as her past races to catch up with her; threatening her future and her friends, and forcing her to choose between her old love and the new.
Maria thought stowing away on a ship to follow the man she loves was a great idea - but sleeping in the cargo hold and fighting rats for food isn't at all what she bargained for, and that's before she reaches her destination: the desolate colonial outpost of Christmas Island.
Now the man who was once her world won't even look at her. Perhaps she'd be better off swimming hundreds of miles home.
It's time to lay the ghosts of their past to rest...or are some ghosts not dead at all?
A tiny taste of what's in store:
If I never saw the ocean again, it would be too soon.
My defiance was futile. What did it get me? A small raft drifting across the Indian Ocean, with nothing but the sound of waves and the smell of salt and coal-smoke.
Smoke meant a ship. I was saved.
I squinted into the sunlight, but the waves hid the vessel from me. Maybe I was looking the wrong way. I didn't have the strength to sit up and see.
Rough hands seized me. I struggled, but my weakness won.
Blue eyes drifted above, the same colour as the ocean below. A tangle of wiry seaweed obscured the rest of the man's face.
"It's all right, lass. I'll take care of you."
Keywords: new adult, interracial romance, humor and comedy, Scottish hero, sea adventure, Jazz Age romance, 20th century Australian history, shipwreck, Indian Ocean, based on a true story
From the author of Pacific Payback comes the gripping true story of the Cactus Air Force and how this rugged crew of Dive-Bombers helped save Guadalcanal and won the war.
November 1942: Japanese and American forces have been fighting for control of Guadalcanal, a small but pivotal island in Japan’s expansion through the South Pacific. Both sides have endured months of grueling battle under the worst circumstances: hellish jungles, meager rations, and tropical diseases, which have taken a severe mental and physical toll on the combatants. The Japanese call Guadalcanal Jigoku no Jima—Hell's Island.
Amid a seeming stalemate, a small group of U.S. Navy dive bombers are called upon to help determine the island's fate. The men have until recently been serving in their respective squadrons aboard the USS Lexington and the USS Yorktown, fighting in the thick of the Pacific War's aerial battles. Their skills have been honed to a fine edge, even as injury and death inexorably have depleted their ranks. When their carriers are lost, many of the men end up on the USS Enterprise. Battle damage to that carrier then forces them from their home at sea to operating from Henderson Field, a small dirt-and-gravel airstrip on Guadalcanal.
With some Marine and Army Air Force planes, they help form the Cactus Air Force, a motley assemblage of fliers tasked with holding the line while making dangerous flights from their jungle airfield. Pounded by daily Japanese air assaults, nightly warship bombardments, and sniper attacks from the jungle, pilots and gunners rarely last more than a few weeks before succumbing to tropical ailments, injury, exhaustion, and death. But when the Japanese launch a final offensive to take the island once and for all, these dive-bomber jocks answer the call of duty—and try to perform miracles in turning back an enemy warship armada, a host of fighter planes, and a convoy of troop transports.
A remarkable story of grit, guts, and heroism, The Battle for Hell's Island reveals how command of the South Pacific, and the outcome of the Pacific War, depended on control of a single dirt airstrip—and the small group of battle-weary aviators sent to protect it with their lives.
From the Hardcover edition.
For the reader's convenience, the work is organized into chapters covering all aspects life: domestic, economic, intellectual, material, political, recreational, and religious. It includes a historical timeline of Viking history, complementary pictures, illustrations, and maps, and a bibliography.
It was the autumn of 1628, and the Batavia, the Dutch East India Company’s flagship, was loaded with a king’s ransom in gold, silver, and gems for her maiden voyage to Java. The Batavia was the pride of the Company’s fleet, a tangible symbol of the world’s richest and most powerful commercial monopoly. She set sail with great fanfare, but the Batavia and her gold would never reach Java, for the Company had also sent along a new employee, Jeronimus Corneliszoon, a bankrupt and disgraced man who possessed disarming charisma and dangerously heretical ideas.
With the help of a few disgruntled sailors, Jeronimus soon sparked a mutiny that seemed certain to succeed—but for one unplanned event: In the dark morning hours of June 3, the Batavia smashed through a coral reef and ran aground on a small chain of islands near Australia. The commander of the ship and the skipper evaded the mutineers by escaping in a tiny lifeboat and setting a course for Java—some 1,800 miles north—to summon help. Nearly all of the passengers survived the wreck and found themselves trapped on a bleak coral island without water, food, or shelter. Leaderless, unarmed, and unaware of Jeronimus’s treachery, they were at the mercy of the mutineers.
Jeronimus took control almost immediately, preaching his own twisted version of heresy he’d learned in Holland’s secret Anabaptist societies. More than 100 people died at his command in the months that followed. Before long, an all-out war erupted between the mutineers and a small group of soldiers led by Wiebbe Hayes, the one man brave enough to challenge Jeronimus’s band of butchers.
Unluckily for the mutineers, the Batavia’s commander had raised the alarm in Java, and at the height of the violence the Company’s gunboats sailed over the horizon. Jeronimus and his mutineers would meet an end almost as gruesome as that of the innocents whose blood had run on the small island they called Batavia’s Graveyard.
Impeccably researched and beautifully written, Batavia’s Graveyard is the next classic of narrative nonfiction, the book that secures Mike Dash’s place as one of the finest writers of the genre.
From the Hardcover edition.
Now, for the first time, Lindqvist’s most beloved works are available in one beautiful and affordable volume with a new introduction by Adam Hochschild. The Dead Do Not Die includes the full unabridged text of "Exterminate All the Brutes", called "a book of stunning range and near genius" by David Levering Lewis. In this work, Lindqvist uses Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness as a point of departure for a haunting tour through the colonial past, retracing the steps of Europeans in Africa from the late eighteenth century onward and thus exposing the roots of genocide via his own journey through the Saharan desert.
The full text of Terra Nullius is also included, for which Lindqvist traveled 7,000 miles through Australia in search of the lands the British had claimed as their own because it was inhabited by "lower races," the native Aborigines—nearly nine-tenths of whom were annihilated by whites. The shocking story of how "no man’s land" became the province of the white man was called "the most original work on Australia and its treatment of Aboriginals I have ever read . . . marvelous" by Phillip Knightley, author of Australia.
Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat Pray Love touched the world and changed countless lives, inspiring and empowering millions of readers to search for their own best selves. Now, this beloved and iconic book returns in a beautiful 10th anniversary edition, complete with an updated introduction from the author, to launch a whole new generation of fans.
In her early thirties, Elizabeth Gilbert had everything a modern American woman was supposed to want—husband, country home, successful career—but instead of feeling happy and fulfilled, she was consumed by panic and confusion. This wise and rapturous book is the story of how she left behind all these outward marks of success, and set out to explore three different aspects of her nature, against the backdrop of three different cultures: pleasure in Italy, devotion in India, and on the Indonesian island of Bali, a balance between worldly enjoyment and divine transcendence.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Convicts and Aborigines, settlers and soldiers, patriots and reformers, bushrangers and gold seekers, it is from their lives and their stories that he has woven a vibrant history to do full justice to the rich and colourful nature of our unique national character.
The story begins by looking at European occupation through Aboriginal eyes as we move between the city slums and rural hovels of eighteenth century Britain and the shores of Port Jackson. We spend time on the low-roofed convict decks of transports, and we see the bewilderment of the Eora people as they see the first ships of turaga, or 'ghost people'. We follow the daily round of Bennelong and his wife Barangaroo, and the tribulations of warrior Windradyne. Convicts like Solomon Wiseman and John Wilson find their feet and even fortune, while Henry Parkes' arrival as a penniless immigrant gives few clues to the national statesman he was to become. We follow the treks of the Chinese diggers - the Celestials - to the goldfields, and revolutionaries like Italian Raffaello Carboni and black American John Joseph bring us the drama of the Eureka uprising.
Were the first European mothers whores or matriarchs? Was the first generation of Australian children the luckiest or unluckiest on the planet? How did this often cruel and brutal penal experiment lead to a coherent civil society? To answer these and many more questions Thomas Keneally has brought to life the high and the low, the convict and the free of early Australian society.
This is truly a new history of Australia, by an author of outstanding literary skill and experience, and whose own humanity permeates every page.
“Egan has a gift for sweeping narrative . . . and he has a journalist’s eye for the telltale detail . . . This is masterly work.” — New York Times Book Review
In this exciting and illuminating work, National Book Award winner Timothy Egan delivers a story, both rollicking and haunting, of one of the most famous Irish Americans of all time. A dashing young orator during the Great Hunger of the 1840s, Thomas Francis Meagher led a failed uprising against British rule, for which he was banished to a Tasmanian prison colony for life. But two years later he was “back from the dead” and in New York, instantly the most famous Irishman in America. Meagher’s rebirth included his leading the newly formed Irish Brigade in many of the fiercest battles of the Civil War. Afterward, he tried to build a new Ireland in the wild west of Montana—a quixotic adventure that ended in the great mystery of his disappearance, which Egan resolves convincingly at last.
“This is marvelous stuff. Thomas F. Meagher strides onto Egan's beautifully wrought pages just as he lived—powerfully larger than life. A fascinating account of an extraordinary life.” — Daniel James Brown, author of The Boys in the Boat
“Thomas Meagher’s is an irresistible story, irresistibly retold by the virtuosic Timothy Egan . . . A gripping, novelistic page-turner.” — Wall Street Journal
The complexities of the Treaty, which have done so much to shape New Zealand history for nearly 200 years, are thoughtfully explored as Orange examines the meanings the document has held for Māori and Pākehā.
A new introduction brings it up to date with all that has happened since, complementing the book’s lucid and well-researched exploration of how and why the Treaty was signed.
Sir Ernest Shackleton was a pioneer of Antarctic exploration. It was his final ambition to be the first to lead an historic expedition across the continent. Whilst attempting to cross the Weddell Sea, the Endurance became trapped in ice. Nine months later the ship was crushed, leaving Shackleton and his crew adrift on a massive ice floe. Shackleton tells how he and his crew crossed six hundred miles of ice and sea and landed on the desolate Elephant Island. From there, in an open boat, he and four others crossed the tempestuous sub-Antarctic Ocean, a distance of eight hundred and fifty miles, to reach South Georgia and help.
'For scientific discovery give me Scott; for speed and efficiency of travel give me Amundsen; but when disaster strikes and all hope is gone, get down on your knees and pray for Shackleton.' Sir Edmund Hillary
Digging deep into the dark history of England's infamous efforts to move 160,000 men and women thousands of miles to the other side of the world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Hughes has crafted a groundbreaking, definitive account of the settling of Australia.
Tracing the European presence in Australia from early explorations through the rise and fall of the penal colonies, and featuring 16 pages of illustrations and 3 maps, The Fatal Shore brings to life the incredible true history of a country we thought we knew.
When it was finally opened in March 1932, the Sydney Harbour Bridge had taken almost nine years to complete at a cost of sixteen lives and more than six million pounds. This is the epic story of the most recognisable symbol of Australia, and the people, political wranglings and incredible feats of engineering behind its creation.
The Bridge brings to life the stories of those who built it, dreamt it and were drawn to it: Lennie Gwyther, the nine-year-old boy who made a 900-mile solo journey on horseback to witness the opening; Dr J.J.C. Bradfield who eventually realised his dream of connecting Sydney's two shores; Vince Kelly, the larger-than-life boilermaker who fell from the arch and survived; and many other fascinating characters.
From the bizarre attempt to sabotage the bridge's opening ceremony to its role in the Sydney Olympics, this is a lively history of one of the world's most famous structures.
'Lalor has written a most intimately affectionate version of an epic story' Canberra Times
Now a major motion picture from Universal, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro.
In this side-splitting sequel to his best-selling history, David Hunt takes us to the Australian frontier.
This was the Wild South, home to hardy pioneers, gun-slinging bushrangers, directionally challenged explorers, nervous indigenous people, Caroline Chisholm and sheep. Lots of sheep.
True Girt introduces Thomas Davey, the hard-drinking Tasmanian governor who invented the Blow My Skull cocktail, and Captain Moonlite, Australia’s most infamous LGBTI bushranger. Meet William Nicholson, the Melbourne hipster who gave Australia the steam-powered coffee roaster and the world the secret ballot. And say hello to Harry, the first camel used in Australian exploration, who shot dead his owner, the explorer John Horrocks.
Learn how Truganini’s death inspired the Martian invasion of Earth. Discover the role of Hall and Oates in the Myall Creek Massacre. And be reminded why you should never ever smoke with the Wild Colonial Boy and Mad Dan Morgan.
Covers the major trends in the study of Chinese history from antiquity to the present day Considers the latest scholarship of historians working in China and around the world Explores a variety of long-range questions and themes which serves to bridge the conventional divide between China’s traditional and modern eras Addresses China’s connections with other nations and regions and enables non-specialists to make comparisons with their own fields Features discussion of traditional topics and chronological approaches as well as newer themes such as Chinese history in relation to sexuality, national identity, and the environment
In Damascus, every layer of the history has built precisely on top of its predecessors for at least three millennia, leaving a detailed archaeological record of one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. The book looks particularly at the interplay between the western and eastern influences that have provided Damascus with such a rich past, and how this perfectly encapsulates the forces that have played over the Middle East as a whole from the earliest recorded times to the present.
Lavishly illustrated, Damascus: A History is a compelling and unique exploration of a fascinating city.
'A powerful and insightful historical account about a unique island and its First peoples, their dispossession and their struggle for survival and cultural birth right/heritage that reaches from the deep past to the present day.' - Patsy Cameron, Tasmanian Aboriginal author, cultural geographer and cultural practitioner
Tasmanian Aborigines were driven off their land so white settlers could produce fine wool for the English textile mills. By the time Truganini died in 1876, they were considered to be extinct. Yet like so many other claims about them, this was wrong.
Far from disappearing, the Tasmanian Aborigines actively resisted settler colonialism from the outset and have consistently campaigned for their rights and recognition as a distinct people through to the present.
Lyndall Ryan tells the story of the Aboriginal people of Tasmania, from before the arrival of the first whites to current political agendas. Tasmania has been the cradle of race relations in Australia, and their struggle for a place in their own country offers insights into the experiences of Aboriginal people nation-wide.
Harold Holt's death had both immediate and long-term consequences for the Australian nation. Not only did it lose a prime minister active in the rejuvenation of its social life and domestic policy, it also lost a key advocate for Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War. His disappearance created a power vacuum in conservative politics and crippled Australian foreign policy.
However, behind the continuing and often macabre interest in Holt's death lies the fascinating story of a once lonely young man who set his sights on becoming prime minister while still at university. The self-made Holt never deviated from this ambition, working hard to acquire an aura of privilege and success.
The Life and Death of Harold Holt is the first full-length biography of one of Australia's most enigmatic prime ministers. It presents a detailed and searching profile of a man who longed for power but found ultimately that its exercise demanded more of him than he was able to give.
The Queensland frontier was more violent than any other Australian colony. From the first penal settlement at Moreton Bay in 1824, as white pastoralists moved into new parts of country, violence invariably followed. Many tens of thousands of Aboriginals were killed on the Queensland frontier. Europeans were killed too, but in much smaller numbers.
The cover-up began from the start: the authorities in Sydney and Brisbane didn't want to know, the Native Police did their deadly work without hindrance, and the pastoralists had every reason to keep it to themselves. Even today, what we know about the killing times is swept aside again and again in favour of the pioneer myth.
Conspiracy of Silence is the first systematic account of frontier violence in Queensland. Following in the tracks of the pastoralists as they moved into new lands across the state in the nineteenth century, Timothy Bottoms identifies massacres, poisonings and other incidents, including many that no-one has documented in print before. He explores the colonial mindset and explains how the brutal dispossession of Aboriginal landowners continued over decades.
'... a road-map back into what seems, from a modern perspective, to be a barely conceivable past.' - From the foreword by Raymond Evans
That Sunday night the party came to a shattering halt when three Japanese midget submarines crept into the harbour, past eight electronic indicator loops, past six patrolling Royal Australian Navy ships, and past an anti-submarine net stretched across the inner harbour entrance. Their arrival triggered a night of mayhem, courage, chaos and high farce which left 27 sailors dead and a city bewildered. The war, it seemed, was no longer confined to distant desert and jungle. It was right here at Australia's front door.
Written at the pace of a thriller and based on new first person accounts and previously unpublished official documents, A Very Rude Awakening is a ground-breaking and myth-busting look at one of the most extraordinary stories ever told of Australia at war.
Australians: a short history brings these three volumes together and reintroduces us to the rich assortment of contradictory, inspiring and surprising characters who made a young and cocky Australia.
It is the story of the original Australians and European occupation of their land through the convict era to pastoralists, bushrangers and gold seekers, working men, pioneering women, the rifts wrought by World War I, the rise of hard-nosed radicals from the Left and the Right, the social upheavals of the Great Crash and World War II, the Menzies era, the nation changing period of post-war migration and Australia's engagement with Asia. This is a truly masterly history of Australia and its people by an author of outstanding literary skill whose own humanity permeates every page.
Praise for Australians, the three volume history
'... giving us what Australian history has desperately needed for years.' Canberra Times
'Keneally evokes these distant lives with concrete detail and vivid sympathy ... his people inhabit the same world we do - we meet them without the hesitation of reaching across voids of space and time.' Sydney Morning Herald
'When it comes to writing page-turning narrative no one does it better than Thomas Keneally ... no doubt about it, Australians is a corker.' Weekend Australian
'Reading this book is like listening to a witty raconteur.' Adelaide Advertiser
'This new perspective on Australia's founding fathers is truly fascinating.' Courier Mail
'... what this book does is populate the blankness of our collective memory with lots of characters from all parts of the continent and all walks of life.' Saturday Age
Black Saturday. February 7, 2009.
Roger Wood is the cop on duty at Kinglake when the most devastating fire in the nation's history roars through the ranges onto his beat. His task is to defend his town against the colossus that threatens to destroy it.
And, over the course of one nightmarish day, that is what he will do. Even at the risk of his own life.
Even after he receives the dreadful phone call telling him his own wife and kids are caught on the front line of the inferno.
Adrian Hyland is the award-winning author of Diamond Dove and Gunshot Road. He lives in St Andrews, north-east of Melbourne, and teaches at LaTrobe University.
'A masterpiece of storytelling...The central characters in this special book emerge as Victoria Cross heroes in the heart of a bush community.' Kerry O'Brien
'What sets Kinglake-350 apart is its strong, agile storytelling - particularly Hyland's skill for weaving together small, telling details with big-picture concerns like climate change, weather pattern complexity, the failings of fire management policy and Australia's historical relationship with fire...' Meg Mundell, Readings
'Every Australian, both rural and urban, should read this book. Adrian Hyland pulls no punches in describing the harrowing consequences of living on the planet's driest and most fire-prone continent, and his account of the disastrous Black Saturday fires is a story of courage, dread and fallibility that will never leave you.' Cate Kennedy
'I've been waiting for a writer to look Black Saturday in the eye ever since the flames died down and, finally, Adrian Hyland's done it. In this compelling and moving book, Hyland has captured the character of a town caught, quite literally, in a fireball.' Anna Krien
'Kinglake-350 is about more than Black Saturday. It's about families and communities, the vital nature of ecology and geology; it's about the genesis of life itself. And while there are too many deaths in this saddest of tales, for the lucky ones the outcome was redemption.' Lincoln Hall
'Adrian Hyland has found a path through the smoke and confusion to produce an informed account that brings tears to the eyes of the reader. He has woven a selection of experiences into a seamless and gripping narrative that shows the courage, uncertainty, tragedy and stupidity of that day. Although the causes and lessons of the fire were explored in the report by the royal commission, this book will be more widely read. And deservedly so.' Age Book of the Year
‘Terrifying and moving... Kinglake-350 leaves us with a visceral sense of a harrowing event.’ Australian
‘Gripping and deeply moving.’ Adelaide Advertiser
‘As in the best fiction these characters will stay with you.’ Daily Telegraph
The Protest Years tells the inside story of Australia's domestic intelligence organisation from the last of the Menzies years to the dismissal of the Whitlam government. With unrestricted access to ASIO's internal filesand extensive interviews with insiders, for the first time the circumstances surrounding the alleged role of ASIO in the demise of the Whitlam government are revealed and the question of the CIA's involvement in Australia is explored. The extraordinary background to the raid on ASIO headquarters in Melbourne by Attorney-General Lionel Murphy and Australia's efforts at countering Soviet bloc espionage, as well as the sensitive intelligence activities in South Vietnam, are exposed.
This is a ground-breaking political and social history of some of Australia's most turbulent years as seen through the secret prism of ASIO.
The Protest Years is the second of three volumes of The Official History of ASIO.
giving concerts in the four main centres and changing life as we knew it
for ever. For teenagers of the time, it was the most exciting week of
their lives. Teachers were ignored and parents defied as thousands of
young people devised ingenious ways of seeing their idols.
book Graham Hutchins has interviewed dozens of people who were directly
affected by the visit, from fans who attended the concerts and people
who accompanied the Beatles on tour, to contemporary musicians and John
Lennon’s Kiwi relations. The visit of the Fab Four is remembered through
the reminiscences of these eyewitnesses, and through a mass of
photographs and memorabilia that illustrate the text. The author also
assesses the long-term impact the Beatles made on New Zealand music and
on society at large. Full of memories and nostalgia, this is the ideal
souvenir of one of the most remarkable weeks in New Zealand’s history.
This is the story of the worst of them and those that ran the system. Multiple murderers, bushrangers, cannibals, conmen and the desperately criminal fought lifetime battles with a prison system that was often no better, managed by the incompetent, the sadistic, the ignorant and the foolhardy.
This story of the worst of Australian convicts and the system that created them is a meticulously researched insight into the tragedy, treachery, drama and characters that founded our nation.
This book is part of Exisle Publishing's Little Red Books series. Every title in the Little Red Books series provides an overview of key events, people or places in Australian history. They cover the essentials, bringing the reader up to speed on the most important, fascinating or intriguing facts. Appealing to everyone from students to pensioners who've always wanted to "know a bit about that", they're an essential part of every Australian bookshelf.
Annie Cossins pieces together a dramatic and tragic tale with larger than life characters: theatrical Sarah Makin; her smooth-talking husband, John; her disloyal daughter, Clarice; diligent Constable James Joyce, with curious domestic arrangements of his own; and a network of baby farmers stretching across the city. It's a glimpse into a society that preferred to turn a blind eye to the fate of its most vulnerable members, only a century ago.
'A very moving book...[It] brings to life the awful poverty and the immoral 'morality' of the times... conditions which broke that most sacred and powerful bond - between mother and baby - and broke the hearts of impoverished young women.' - Gabrielle Lord
'A very readable and accessible history of a terrible time. The writer has a passionate grasp of her subject and her time.' - Kerry Greenwood
'Cossins is both relentless in her search, and engrossing in her writing' - Lucy Sussex
Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
In September 1960, John Steinbeck embarked on a journey across America. He felt that he might have lost touch with the country, with its speech, the smell of its grass and trees, its color and quality of light, the pulse of its people. To reassure himself, he set out on a voyage of rediscovery of the American identity, accompanied by a distinguished French poodle named Charley; and riding in a three-quarter-ton pickup truck named Rocinante.
His course took him through almost forty states: northward from Long Island to Maine; through the Midwest to Chicago; onward by way of Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana (with which he fell in love), and Idaho to Seattle, south to San Francisco and his birthplace, Salinas; eastward through the Mojave, New Mexico, Arizona, to the vast hospitality of Texas, to New Orleans and a shocking drama of desegregation; finally, on the last leg, through Alabama, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey to New York.
Travels with Charley in Search of America is an intimate look at one of America's most beloved writers in the later years of his life—a self-portrait of a man who never wrote an explicit autobiography. Written during a time of upheaval and racial tension in the South—which Steinbeck witnessed firsthand—Travels with Charley is a stunning evocation of America on the eve of a tumultuous decade. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.
For more than sixty-five years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,500 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
During World War II, 22 000 Australian military personnel became prisoners of war under the Japanese military. Over three and a half years, 8000 died in captivity, in desperate conditions of forced labour, disease and starvation. Many of those who returned home after the war attributed their survival to the 106 Australian medical officers imprisoned alongside them. These doctors varied in age, background and experience, but they were united in their unfailing dedication to keeping as many of the men alive as possible.
This is the story of those 106 doctors - their compassion, bravery and ingenuity - and their efforts in bringing back the 14 000 survivors.
'You are unfortunate in being prisoners of a country whose living standards are much lower than yours. You will often consider yourselves mistreated, while we think of you as being treated well.' - Japanese officer to Australian POWs, 1943
The journey usually took 130 days, but due to the incompetence of the captain and the many misadventures encountered it took the Planter almost six months to reach its destination. Along the way it lost a crew, several passengers and much livestock; it gained a new crew and at least one extra passenger. The drunken brawls and licentious couplings horrified James Bell who, to while away the time, penned a detailed account of all the comings and goings for the eyes of 'C.P.' only, sternly advising her that 'it must never be read by a third party'.
Sustained by his sense of adventure, his love of poetry, his faith in his Presbyterian God, his nostalgic memories of rural Scotland and particularly by his affection for 'C.P.', James Bell maintained a vivid and astute record of his historic journey. His voice travels down to us, more than a century and a half later, and reminds us of the dangers and joys of such an adventurous leap into the unknown.
At 5400 kilometres, the Dog Fence is one of the longest man-made structures on Earth. It slices across Australia's desert heart, dividing the continent to keep dingoes away from livestock.
James Woodford embarks on a journey to follow its length, travelling some of the loneliest and harshest country in the world. He begins on a clifftop overlooking the Great Australian Bight and ends in the foothills of Queensland's Bunya Mountains. He meets many of the remarkable people who maintain this amazing barrier as he passes through rocket ranges, nuclear test areas, sacred sites and places where nineteenth-century explorers perished.
'Award-winning author James Woodford follows the fence on an epic journey through some of the loneliest and harshest country in the world...A thrilling account of a little known Australia, this is a funny, warm and compelling tale of the outback, bushmen and wildlife.' Age
From the Trade Paperback edition.
The definitive biography of Ned Kelly - and a superb description of his times.
A bestseller since it was first published, Ned Kelly: A Short Life is acknowledged as being the definitive biography.
Ian Jones combines years of research into all the records of the era and exhaustive interviews with living descendants of those involved, to present a vivid and gripping account of one of Australia's most iconic figures.
`It will probably stand as the definitive account of Kelly?s life and its meaning?a work of prodigious scholarship, vivid reportage and sharp analysis?the most detailed portrait of the outlaw ever written? - Rod Moran, West Australian
`the definitive biographical work? - Dr John McQuilton, author of The Kelly Outbreak
The Jerilderie Letter is his remarkable manifesto and a startling record of his voice. Kelly delivered his letter, which Joe Byrne had diligently written out, on Monday 10 February 1879, immediately after his gang had held up the Bank of New South Wales in Jerilderie. He gives an impassioned defence of his actions, condemns those who have wronged him, and sends a chilling warning to those who may yet defy him.
This illustrated edition, transcribed from the manuscript now housed in the State Library of Victoria, includes a fascinating new introduction by the historian Alex McDermott. The Jerilderie Letter remains one of the most astonishing documents in Australian history.
Born in 1855, Ned Kelly remains the most famous criminal in Australian history. His life has been extensively documented, and dramatised in plays, novels, poems and films. Kelly was arrested and hanged in 1880 after the famous siege of Glenrowan.
Alex McDermott is an historian and writer based in Melbourne.
'Not only is this paperback Jerilderie Letter - edited and superbly introduced by Melbourne historian Alex McDermott - placed firmly in both historical and modern context, but in a literary one as well. (This book is going to straddle and enrich courses right across the board.' Robert Drewe, Age
Agnes McMillan and Janet Houston were convicted for shoplifting. Bridget Mulligan stole a bucket of milk; Widow Ludlow Tedder, eleven spoons. For their crimes, they would be sent not to jail, but to ships teeming with other female convicts. Tin tickets, stamped with numbers, were hung around the women's necks, and the ships set out to carry them to their new home: Van Diemen's Land, later known as Tasmania, part of the British Empire's crown jewel, Australia. Men outnumbered women nine to one there, and few "proper" citizens were interested in emigrating. The deportation of thousands of petty criminals-the vast majority nonviolent first offenders-provided a convenient solution for the government.
Crossing Shark-infested waters, some died in shipwrecks during the four-month journey, or succumbed to infections and were sent to a watery grave. Others were impregnated against their will by their captors. They arrived as nothing more than property. But incredibly, as the years passed, they managed not only to endure their privation and pain but to thrive on their own terms, breaking the chains of bondage, and forging a society that treated women as equals and led the world in women's rights.
The Tin Ticket takes us to the dawn of the nineteenth century and into the lives of Agnes McMillan, whose defiance and resilience carried her to a far more dramatic rebellion; Agnes's best friend Janet Houston, who rescued her from the Glasgow wynds and was also transported to Van Diemen's Land; Ludlow Tedder, forced to choose just one of her four children to accompany her to the other side of the world; Bridget Mulligan, who gave birth to a line of powerful women stretching to the present day. It also tells the tale of Elizabeth Gurney Fry, a Quaker reformer who touched all their lives. Ultimately, it is the story of women discarded by their homeland and forgotten by history-who, by sheer force of will, become the heart and soul of a new nation.
William Least Heat-Moon set out with little more than the need to put home behind him and a sense of curiosity about "those little towns that get on the map-if they get on at all-only because some cartographer has a blank space to fill: Remote, Oregon; Simplicity, Virginia; New Freedom, Pennsylvania; New Hope, Tennessee; Why, Arizona; Whynot, Mississippi."
His adventures, his discoveries, and his recollections of the extraordinary people he encountered along the way amount to a revelation of the true American experience.