A SECRET COUNTRY book cover   A Secret Country
John Pilger

Front jacket photographs: "Sunbaker", 1937, Max Dupain, "Aboriginal Behind Bars", Peter Rae/John Fairfax group

Dustjacket synopsis:

"Expatriate journalist and film-maker John Pilger writes about his homeland with life-long affection and a passionately critical eye. In A SECRET COUNTRY he pays tribute to a little known Australia and tells a story of high political drama."

"Pilger is first-rate dissident journalist. tenaciously researched, fiercely argued, both unsparing and patriotic, A SECRET COUNTRY presents a harsh narrative of class, race and power; of the oppression and resistance, the betrayal and amnesia, that lie behind the sunny illusions of the Australian self-image." - Robert Hughes
"A moving account of the abuse of human rights in Australia, all the more valuable because it is written by an Australian writer." - Graham Greene
"Reminiscent of a sabre-toothed, unexpurgated Dickens" - Robert Carver, New Statesman

About the Author:
John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film-maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of Journalist of the Year, for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia. Among a number of other awards, he has been International Reporter of the Year, and winner of the United Nations Association Media Peace Prize. His documentaries have won prizes at Chicago, Melbourne and other international festivals.

First Paragraph from the Introduction:

As a young reporter on the Sydney Daily Telegraph, asssigned to cover the wharves and the airport, I was obliged to ask 'visiting celebrities' what they thought of Australia. Although they might have seen only those unique Australian officials who spray arriving passengers with disinfectant, they were expected to play the game and make a statement affirming all that was good and sublime about 'Godzone'. Exhausted by a seemingly endless journey, and broiling or shivering in the corrugated iron sheds that stood at the nation's gates, they were prompted about the delights of 'our beer, beaches and way of life'. Compliance ensured them generous space in the next day's papers; resistance risked public opprobrium. When the actress Elizabeth Taylor loudly and accurately described the question as 'dumb as shit', the size of the bags under her eyes was reported and it was noted that her latest husband was 'dwarf-like and grizzled'.

From the Vintage paperback edition, 1989.

This page and its contents are copyright © 2000-01 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: January 30, 2001.