cover image The Australians

The Australians

Ross Terrill. Simon & Schuster, $19.45 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-671-54441-6

With perspective gained during his years in the West and China, TerrillHarvard research associate, author of a biography of Madame Mao and other titlesrecalls his tranquil childhood in the Australian outback and the still-Victorian city of Melbourne. He also evaluates the simultaneous efforts of his native land to build a national image and achieve cosmopolitanism. To the heritage of the early penal colony settlers, he notes, have been added British and American cultural influences, the impact of massive Southern European migrations and a recent influx of Middle Easterners and Asians. With the ebbing of British power, Australians are increasingly aware that their country's future lies mainly in the Asian sphere, according to the author. He also states that although Australians still believe in progress, they are divided over the issue of aboriginal land rights. The nation is also subject to the modern social ills of unemployment, strikes and corruption, but he notes much artistic activity, especially among filmmakers. BOMC alternate. (August 29)