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Expatriate journalist and film-maker John Pilger writes about his homeland with life-long affection and a passionately critical eye. In this fully updated edition of A Secret Country, he pays tribute to a little known Australia and tells a story of high political drama.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780099152316
ISBN-10: 0099152312
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 27mm)
Pages: 464
Imprint: Vintage
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Publish Date: 21-May-1992
Country of Publication: United Kingdom


US Kirkus Review » A desanitized view of Australia from a veteran Australian journalist, ranging from its founding as a penal colony in 1788 to the machinations of the "Old Mates," the powerful "dullards" who threaten the nation's hard-won status as a working-class society of equals. More than 160,000 came to Australia in chains, a practice continuing into the 1880's. Later generations tried to suppress their heritage, so Pilger had to do considerable work to unearth his great-great-grandmother, a pregnant 16-year-old Irish girl when she came over on one of the female slave ships. Such women were passed out first to "officers, then to non-commissioned officers, then privates, and lastly such ex-convict settlers as seemed 'respectable.'" Yet the offspring of convicts were more brutal still to Aborigines, taking them as slaves quite as in the American South. Aborigines were seen as animals; even into the 1950's babies were taken away at birth and "adopted"; full rights are still not accorded these people. Meanwhile, Australia, with its whites-only immigration policy, remained aloof from its Asian neighbors. When the UK's influence waned, the US stepped in, most notably with the use of Australian conscripts in the Vietnam War. According to Pilger, the CIA actually undertook a sort of coup by poisoning the chances for reelection of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam through its influences with powerful Governor General John Kerr. One of the most extraordinary portraits here is of Kerr, a boilermakers's son and rabid conservative whose weakness was booze; he lost his job when he made a drunken pass at the Queen. A brooding, often angry book. Pilger sees hope for this nation of battlers in the example of New Zealand, a superficially similar country that noisily rejected the US nuclear umbrella and has turned fully ten percent of its land into a national park. A startling look, then, at a country quite different from, and hauntingly similar to, the US. (Kirkus Reviews)

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Author Biography - John Pilger

John Pilger grew up in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, author and film-maker. He has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of Journalist of the Year, for his work all over the world, notably in Cambodia and Vietnam. He has been International Reporter of the Year and winner of the United Nations Associated Peace Prize and Gold Medal. For his broadcasting, he has won France's Reporter Sans Frontieres, an American television Academy Award, an Emmy, and the Richard Dimbleby Award, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts. In 2003, he received the Sophie Prize for 'thirty years of exposing deception and improving human rights'.

Books By Author John Pilger

New Rulers of the World by John Pilger

The New Rulers of the World

Paperback, February 2016
Rebel Journalism by John Pilger

Rebel Journalism

Paperback, November 2007
Freedom Next Time by John Pilger

Freedom Next Time

Paperback, June 2007
Tell Me No Lies by John Pilger

Tell Me No Lies

Paperback, October 2005