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Error Australis (Ben Pobjie, Affirm)

Ben Pobjie sets the tone for his book Error Australis by comparing history to reality TV; both are filled with drama, suspense, love, hatred, loyalty, deception and horses—and we may be doomed to a future of remakes and reboots if we dare to forget our past. Error Australis starts its irreverent journey through Australian history in 1785, with the Privy Council in London trying to find a new place to put all those pesky criminals now that America had closed its borders to Britain. It checks in on the First Australians’ worried discussions about the sudden influx of ‘boat people’ (ie the First Fleet), hitches a ride on Burke and Wills’ fateful journey, covers the forging of our nation in Gallipoli, and takes us all the way up to the Rudd, Gillard, Rudd, Abbott, Turnbull fiasco of modern politics. It’s all related in a relaxed, conversational tone that is absolutely packed with jokes, sarcastic comments, speculation and ‘fact is stranger than fiction’ nuggets of information. Error Australis is ideal for readers with an interest in the Australian history but who might find the three volumes of Thomas Keneally’s Australians intimidating and lacking in jokes.

Dani Solomon is a bookseller at Readings Carlton


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