Blainey, Geoffrey. 2015. The Story of Australia's People: The Rise and Fall of Ancient Australia. Penguin / Viking.
This is an economic (mostly) history of Australia from prehistoric times until about 1850. Much of the book concerns how the aborigines got along prior to the European invasion in the late 1700s. I found this the most interesting part of the book, mainly because I knew the least about it. You can feel Blainey's interest in, and knowledge of, how the aborigines led their economic lives and how the wild variety of climate and terrain within Australia affected those lives. The other part I found most interesting described the massive and quite rapid growth of pastoral industries (mostly raising sheep) in Australia in the first half of the 19th century.. Blainey, a widely published and widely-read author within Australia (with his own wikipedia page), writes for an intelligent popular audience. I would not have minded a more academic treatment, but you can tell that Blainey has read the relevant academic literature. Also, this is very much an economic history; do not expect much discussion of the dreamtime or other more cultural and religious aspects of aboriginal (or European settler) life.
Recommended as an accessible introduction to the topic.
Dymock's page (the Aussie bookstore chain where I bought the book)
Who was my favorite student this term?
8 months ago