The Bush

The Bush

by Don Watson

Paperback / softback Publication Date: 03/10/2016

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A milestone work of memoir, travel writing and history, The Bush by Don Watson takes us on a profoundly revelatory and entertaining journey through the Australian landscape and character.

Most Australians live in cities and cling to the coastal fringe, yet our sense of what an Australian is or should be is drawn from the vast and varied inland called the bush. But what do we mean by 'the bush', and how has it shaped us? Starting with his forebears' battle to drive back nature and eke a living from the land, Don Watson explores the bush as it was and as it now is: the triumphs and the ruination, the common place and the bizarre, the stories we like to tell about ourselves and the national character, and those we don't.

Via mountain ash and mallee, the birds and the beasts, slaughter, fire, flood and drought, swagmen, sheep and their shepherds, the strange and the familiar, the tragedies and the follies, the crimes and the myths and the hope here is a journey that only our leading writer of non-fiction could take us on.

At once magisterial in scope and alive with telling, wry detail, The Bush lets us see our landscape and its inhabitants afresh, examining what we have made, what we have destroyed, and what we have become in the process. No one who reads it will look at this country the same way again.

'Nothing he has written quite matches the wonders of The Bush . . . There is no dull page or even lifeless sentence between its covers and my urge is that if anyone wants a full blast of what Australia is, was, or might be, thrust The Bush into their hands. Watson seems to have been preparing to write it all his life, from when he was a small boy (born 1949) open to wonders on his family's Gippsland dairy farm . . . It's the unalloyed wonder of that small boy . . . that guides the reader most of all . . . a fountaining freshness of spirit that gives everything he sees and does the vivacity of being sighted for the first time.' - Roger McDonald, The Age

'Flawlessly elegant writing . . . But this is excellent, hard-headed history, too . . . Utterly mesmerising and entrancing . . . A challenge to contemplate what it really is about this country that makes us who we think we are . . . A literary-historical odyssey.' - Paul Daley, The Guardian (Australia)

'A loving rumination on Australia, the landmass, and those who live on it and from it . . . Watson refuses to be captured by easy categorisations or received opinion . . . The writing is crisp, witty and sardonic . . . Watson is an original, with an authentic, prophetic voice.' - John Hirst, The Monthly

ISBN:
9781926428697
9781926428697
Category:
Memoirs
Format:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
03-10-2016
Publisher:
Penguin Australia Pty Ltd
Country of origin:
Australia
Pages:
448
Dimensions (mm):
197x130x37mm
Weight:
0.37kg
Don Watson

Don Watson's Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, won the Age Book of the Year and Non-Fiction Prizes, the Brisbane Courier Mail Book of the Year, the National Biography Award and the Australian Literary Studies Association's Book of the Year.

His Quarterly Essay, Rabbit Syndrome : Australia and America won the Alfred Deakin Essay Prize. Death Sentence, his best-selling book about the decay of public language won the Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year 2003.

Watson's Dictionary of Weason Words, another best-seller, was published in 2004. His most recent book American Journeys won the Age Non-Fiction and Book of the Year Awards in 2008. It also won the inaugural Indie Award for Non-Fiction and the Walkley Award for Non-Fiction.

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