Eureka 1

The Unfinished Revolution

by Peter FitzSimons

Hardback Publication Date: 01/11/2012

4/5 Rating 1 Reviews
Eureka Stockade - The Unfinished Revolution In 1854, Victorian miners fought a deadly battle under the flag of the Southern Cross at the Eureka Stockade. Though brief and doomed to fail, the battle is legend in both our history and in the Australian mind. Henry Lawson wrote poems about it, its symbolic flag is still raised, and even the nineteenth-century visitor Mark Twain called it- " a strike for liberty".Was this rebellion a fledgling nation?s first attempt to assert its independence under colonial rule? Or was it merely rabble-rousing by unruly miners determined not to pay their taxes.In his inimitable style, Peter FitzSimons gets into the hearts and minds of those on the battlefield, and those behind the scenes, bringing to life Australian legends on both sides of the rebellion.
Australasian & Pacific history
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Random House Australia
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Peter FitzSimons

Peter FitzSimons is a journalist with the Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, and a busy events and motivational speaker.

He is the author of over twenty-seven books, including Tobruk, Kokoda, Batavia, Eureka, Ned Kelly, Gallipoli and biographies of Douglas Mawson, Nancy Wake‚ Kim Beazley‚ Nick Farr-Jones‚ Les Darcy, Steve Waugh and John Eales, and is one of Australia's biggest selling non-fiction authors of the last fifteen years.

Peter was named a Member of the Order of Australia for service to literature as a biographer, sports journalist and commentator, and to the community through contributions to conservation, disability care, social welfare and sporting organisations. He lives with his wife, Lisa Wilkinson, and their three children in Sydney.

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Customer Reviews

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4 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution by Peter FitzSimons

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    Having spent several years living in Ballarat, and having a passing interest in local history, Id heard the bones of the Eureka Stockade story many times - but FitzSimons has fleshed it out masterfully, placing the events of December 3rd not only within the context of Ballarat and the other Victorian goldfields, but amongst the history of Colonial Australia and that of popular revolutions around the world.

    FitzSimons recounts the events leading up to the stockade in great detail, drawing on a number of sources, including the eyewitness account of Raffaelo Carboni, a leader of the rebellion. I was surprised - and pleased - with how much detail was given on the wide cast of players involved on both sides. Peter Lalor is the person we always hear the most about, but in truth he was a relatively minor player until very late in the piece, and it was great to get some insight into the other men involved.

    Though FitzSimons tends not to point them out, it is easy - and quite enjoyable - to note the many people or events whose surnames now grace suburbs or streets. This kind of local knowledge does help a lot when imagining troop movements, too - if you arent familiar with the Ballarat area it would be beneficial to at least have a look at some maps, just to get an idea of the terrain.

    There is, however, a lot in the book for those unfamiliar with Ballarat and its history. FitzSimons draws connections with the French and American Revolutions of the previous century, the more recent California gold rush, and even the work of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. Many of the diggers were migrants who brought their own struggles for political freedom with them to Australia - most notably the Young Ireland movement, and the Chartists of Britain. The political realities of the world at large are something that would have weighed heavily on the minds of the decision-makers involved, but are curiously absent from most popular accounts of the Stockade. The economic factors are also included - it seems incredible that several early higher-ups wanted the discovery of gold kept quiet, for fear of what a gold rush could do to Australias fledgling economy. FitzSimons weaves these factors in marvellously, and in doing so places Eureka among the other popular revolutions of the time. The book is about so much more than just Eureka - it is a chapter in the ongoing struggle for freedom, for democracy, all over the globe.

    The story of the stockade is bookended by FitzSimons own musings on what he thinks of Eureka, and why he wanted to write the book. He does quite clearly take a side - this is by no stretch of the imagination an apolitical account of the stockade, as you might get from a proper historian. He is, however, very fair in his treatment - he never demonises the opposing forces, nor does he treat the rebels as though they are above reproach.

    Though it is certainly a long book, Eureka is well worth the time and effort. I loved it, and look forward to checking out his other books.