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The Fierce Country

True stories from Australia's unsettled heart, 1830 to today

Stephen Orr

The Fierce Country
The Fierce Country holds no malice, but neither pity. It just sits, and bakes, and waits. We do the rest. We provoke it when we mine above its aquifers. Weaken it, and ourselves, when we leave mountains of asbestos to blow away in the wind. Misunderstand it when we see it as nothing more than a resource. Resent it when it takes our children.

The open spaces and isolated places outside Australia's cities have unsettled us from first European settlement to today - often with very good reason.

In this nail-biting book combining the notorious and little-known, acclaimed author Stephen Orr has collected true stories that have shaped and continue to haunt the Australian psyche: mysteries, disappearances, mistreatment and murder.

Fatal conflicts between an Aboriginal tracker and the police employers hunting his community. An itinerant conman picking up tips for the perfect murder from a famous novelist around a campfire on the Rabbit-Proof Fence. And that fateful day when Peter Falconio pulled over beside a desert highway.

Together these tales chart an undercurrent of shifting cultural tensions as Australians find, lose and question who we are.

Praise for The Fierce Country
'The Fierce Country is a slim book with rich pickings, ready for every grey nomadís small bookshelf.' - Peter Pierce, Australian

'The Fierce Country harks back to a 19th-century taste for melodrama and a conception of the Australian bush as a "vast, khaki Xanadu" onto which newcomers project their dreams and delusions.' - Fiona Capp, Sydney Morning Herald

'In this short, compelling book, the author presents us with stories we may have largely forgotten, may never have known but which have nevertheless both informed and mirrored how we view our country and ourselves. The ferocity he describes, emanating from a dead heart, continues to command our attention, to draw us even as it repels.' - Fleurieu Living

'I recommend this book for students of Australian history, for readers of non-fiction, for readers of murder and mystery stories, for anyone who just enjoys a good collection of short stories.' - Helen Eddy, ReadPlus

'Highly recommended for holiday reading ... A nice touch is the occasional insertion of relevant lines of poetry, notably by Douglas Stewart who alludes to "a fierce country" and was one of the author's sources of inspiration.' - Roger Andre, Bibliofile

'This is not an easy book to read but it is hard to put down. It portrays a side of our country's story that we would rather overlook but need to know about.' - IF, ARPA News

Stephen Orr is the author of seven novels, a short story collection and a book of non-fiction. He writes features and occasional columns, and teaches part-time. He lives in Adelaide.
Category Biography/Autobiography/True Stories
Format Paperback
Size 210 x 140 mm
ISBN 9781743055748
Extent 228 pages
Price: AU$27.95 including GST
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