By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Little Book of Australia: A Snapshot of Who We Are
By David Dale (Allen & Unwin, $24.99, softcover, 261 pages)
This “little tract” is meant to “amuse, inform and provoke” and to get us thinking and talking about Australia’s identity.
Instead of boasting about what makes Australia great, The Little Book of Australia explains what makes us unique with common and uncommon knowledge about the myths, attitudes, jokes and journeys that make us Aussies.
This is the ultimate reference book about our lucky, carefree country that’s packed with humorous and fascinating specifics. There arefacts, figures and quotations about our icons, our politics, literature and language, sport, flora and fauna, key dates and events.
One of the foremost commentators on the psychology of Australians, David Dale advises use of the index which he claims is “as good as google”.
He points out that one of our healthiest traits is a habit of making fun of ourselves and while we’re good at sport and acting, we haven’t ever seen ourselves as a land of “visionary idealists”.
What is ‘peculiarly ours’ includes catchphrases like ‘Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi’; how we speak (did you know that Australia has 226 languages?); best songs about us, our national anthem written in its entirety and the list goes on.
We are what we eat, watch, buy, read, love, play. It’s been a long step in a short time from football, meat pies, kangaroos and Holdens to lattes, iPods, climate change and MasterChef.
David Dale chronicles how this happened as “I was particularly curious about how, in just 50 years, this country transformed itself from one of the dullest places on the planet to one of the most interesting”.
Take up the challenge and if you answer the 15 questions correctly in the quiz, then “you know the people really well with whom you share this continent”.
A wonderfully informative read!
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.