Books That Made Us

Reinecke, Carl

A cultural history of Australia told through our fiction.

Australia’s novels lie at the heart of the country. Capturing everyday lives and exceptional dreams, they have held up a mirror to the nation, reflecting the good and the bad. In this companion book to the ABC TV series, Carl Reinecke looks at the history of Australian culture through the books that we have read.

Touching on colonial invasion, the bush myth, world wars, mass migration, Indigenous histories and the emergence of a modern, global, multicultural nation, Carl describes how these pivotal movements have found expression in some of Australia’s most influential novels and how these books, in turn, have shaped us.

From Marcus Clarke to Melissa Lucashenko, Patrick White to Peter Carey, and Henry Handel Richardson to Michelle de Kretser, these are authors and books that have entertained, stimulated, kept us reading, and made a difference over the course of more than 200 years.