Author(s): John Rickard
perceptive, balanced, wide-ranging interpretation of the evolution of modern
Australia which is both erudite and well-written' - Duncan Bythell
Rickard's Australia: A Cultural History, first
published in 1988, is still the only short history of Australia from a cultural
perspective. It has also acquired a reputation as an introduction to the
development of Australian society and was listed by the historian and public
intellectual John Hirst in his `First XI: The best Australian history books'.
arranged chronologically, this book is not a chronicle, still less a laborious
detailing of governors and governments: rather, it focuses on the transmission
of values, beliefs, and customs amongst the diverse mix of peoples who are
today's Australians. The story begins with sixty thousand years of Aboriginal presence and their continuing material and spiritual relationship
with the land, and takes the reader through the turbulent years of British
colonisation and the emergence, through prosperity, war, and depression, of the
cultural accommodations which have been distinctively Australian. This third edition concludes with a critical review of the challenges facing contemporary
Australia and warns readers that `we may get the future we deserve'.
John Rickard is the author of H B Higgins: The Rebel as Judge (Age non-fiction Book of the Year 1984), Australia: A Cultural History (1988, 1996, new edition in preparation) and A Family Romance: The Deakins at Home (1996) and has published widely on Australian cultural history and biography. In 1997-8 he was the visiting professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University and in 2007 the Monash Visiting Fellow of Australian Studies at the University of Copenhagen. He is currently an adjunct professor at Monash University. In his youth John Rickard worked as an actor and singer.