Girt. No word could better capture the essence of Australia …
In this hilarious history, David Hunt reveals the truth of Australia’s past, from megafauna to Macquarie – the cock-ups and curiosities, the forgotten eccentrics and Eureka moments that have made us who we are.
Girt introduces forgotten heroes like Mary McLoghlin, transported for the crime of “felony of sock,” and Trim the cat, who beat a French monkey to become the first animal to circumnavigate Australia.
It recounts the misfortunes of the escaped Irish convicts who set out to walk from Sydney to China, guided only by a hand-drawn paper compass, and explains the role of the coconut in Australia’s only military coup.
Our nation’s beginnings are steeped in the strange, the ridiculous and the frankly bizarre. Girt proudly reclaims these stories for all of us.
Not to read it would be un-Australian.
Publisher: Black Inc.
Publication date: July 24th 2013
When I started to read this book I found myself loving the seemingly sarcastic nature of it’s writing style. It wasn’t until a chance comment I read that I realised this book was satirical. I have attempted to read satire before and not enjoyed it, largely because I didn’t understand it. This book however, changed that. The first part of the book was more hilarious than the second part but that didn’t detract from it in any way. This book contains footnotes and even these were hilarious, not something you often see with footnotes.
Hunt’s writing style is very accessible to the reader. This book is far from an academic and boring history of Australia. Hunt said he wanted to show people that not only was Australia’s history fascinating but that it was also “…bloody funny.” This book certainly achieved that. He also didn’t water down the facts or clean it up to make it easier to read. He speaks about our history just like it is so the reader can decide what they want to make of it themselves.
This book comes across as an invitation to the reader to come along on fun, but wild, journey with the author whilst learning about our own country’s story.
In the first chapter we are told that in 1770 Captain Cook wasn’t even a Captain. He was in fact a Lieutenant. Hunt talks about how Australia wasn’t discovered (you need to read the book to understand the context) and the feelings of the British toward the Spanish many of whom lived in Australia at the time. The rest of the book continues in this vain. I enjoyed reading it so much that I couldn’t wait to get back to it at every opportunity I could. I look forward to getting to the second book which picks up where this book ends.
Recommend for: Adults