This, the third and final volume of a landmark, award-winning series, gives an account of Australia's settlement by Britain. It tells of the various ways in which that experience shaped imagination and belief among the settler people from the 18th century to the end of World War I. It also tells the story of Australian Federation and the war with a focus, as ever, on ordinary habits of thought and feeling. In this period, for the first time the settler people began to grasp the vastness of the continent, and to think of it as their own. There was a massive funding of education, and the intellectual reach of men and women was suddenly expanded to an extent that seemed dazzling to many at the time. Women began to shape public imagination as they had not before. At the same time, the worship of mere ideas had its victims, most obviously the Aboriginal people, and the war itself proved what vast tragedies it could unleash. The culmination of an extraordinary career in the writing and teaching of Australian history, Alan Atkinson's ambitious and unique series grapples with the Australian historical experience as a whole from the point of view of the settlers from Europe.
Alan Atkinson is the author of several books, including "Camden: Farm and Village Life in Early New South Wales," which helped to introduce new forms of social history to Australia, and "The Commonwealth of Speech," an argument about history writing in the 21st century and about the links between the national past and present. He has been a Fulbright scholar and a visiting fellow at the universities of Cambridge, London, and Melbourne, and at the Australian National University.