Thursday, July 12, 2007

The Explorers by Tim Flannery (ed)

Rating: 8/10

Published: 1998
Number of pages: 380
ISBN: 1876485221

Started: 21 February 2007
Finished: 7 March 2007

Summary (taken from blurb):
The explorers of Australia tell an epic story of courage and suffering, of dispossession and conquest. This bestselling anthology, brilliantly edited and introduced by Tim Flannery, documents almost four centuries of exploration and takes us beyond the frontier into a world of danger, compassion, humour, brutality and death.

The Explorers includes the work of Wills, Giles, Leichhardt, Sturt, Eyre and Mitchell, and a host of other fascinating figures. Here, in one place, is the most remarkable body of non-fiction writing every produced in Australia.

This is a collection of fascinating accounts written by early European explorers, beginning with the Dutch in 1604 and going through to 1977. It details their early encounters with the Aborigines, when the English gave them presents of tomahawks and handkerchiefs and the Aborigines willingly became their guides and helped them find water on their explorations inland.

There are chilling stories of men becoming weakened in the desert (and sometimes dying) while searching for days on end to find water. Above all, it shows the courage of the early explorers when boldly going into the unknown. It also shows a much darker side of our history, when the relations between the Europeans and Aborigines broke down and they became enemies.

This was a very thought-provoking book, and enabled me to better understand Australia's history and the events that brought us to where we are today. Humorous in some parts, scary in others, it overall left me with a sense of admiration and respect for both the original and new inhabitants of this country.

No comments: