[PDF] The Eighties By Frank Bongiorno

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The Eighties

Australians during this liveliest of decades’ The Eighties is contemporary history at its best‘Frank Bongiorno has successfully negotiated the minefield of Australia’s political egos to write the definitive account of an inspired infuriating decade’ – George MegalogenisFrank Bongiorno is associate professor of history at the Australian National University and author of the award winning The Sex Lives of Australians He has written for the Monthly the Australian and Inside Story. I won this in a Goodreads giveawayThis was an informative read about a decade that helped shaped Australia A little long winded in parts but overall enjoyable

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Nmental movementAnd then there were the events that left many scratching their heads Joh for Canberra the Australia Card Cliff YoungIn The Eighties Frank Bongiorno brings all this and to life He uncovers forgotten stories – of factory workers proud of their skills who found themselves surplus to reuirements; of Vietnamese families battling to make new lives for themselves in the suburbs He sheds new light on ‘both the ordinary and extraordinary things that happened to Australia and. Modern Australia emerged in the 1980s though as Frank Bongiorno shows in this wonderful history it was a period as confused about where it was going and what it stood for as our own day seems to usAs the afterword makes clear one of the motives for this book is helping bring context to the regular refrain that the 1980s under the Hawke Keating period saw the gold standard of political leadership and most things would be fixed if we just went back to that ethos There are reasons to admire this era but the gloss it has applied is far of a recent invention than as was understood by either the actors or the audience in this eraImportantly Bongiorno widely expands the scope of actors Hawke and Keating get their attention of course but so do hundreds of ordinary Australians as the book ranges across the rise of new social issues economics culture drugs and sport Bongiorno has an eye for the illustrative uote from an anonymous aussie in a focus group or media spot The title declares this the decade that transformed Australia but there s rightfully a hesitancy in this book about just how significant the period was or what it s defining lessons were Many of the changes that occurred had been put in place in earlier eras or were scrambles to respond that only look far sighted and coherent now There were also plenty of wrong turns the history of the corporate tycoons of Bond Homes a Court and Skase and co is illuminating and old legacies of yobboism racism paranoia and corruption which seeped through and left their markThis book is almost entirely focused on the domestic level which is partly a shame as I think some of the biggest changes occurred in the defence and foreign policy sphere The move towards engagement with Asia again begun in earlier decades was vital to modern Australia and the revolutionary Defence of Australia policies deserve than a paragraph or two But not everything can be covered and Bongiorno does a great job giving width and depth to the book without producing a plodding tome that bores or weights downAn important read for knowing where we have come from even if the full legacy of this decade seems remarkably unsettled today

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It was the era of Hawke and Keating Kylie and INXS the America’s Cup and the BicentenaryIt was perhaps the most controversial decade in Australian history with high flying entrepreneurs booming and busting torrid debates over land rights and immigration the advent of AIDS a harsh recession and the rise of the New RightIt was a time when Australians fought for social change – on union picket lines at rallies for women’s rights and against nuclear weapons and as part of a new enviro. As other reviewers have suggested this one falls into the easily mocked gap between journalism and historiography In short it s entertaining though that might rely on the fact that I m old enough to remember some of the decade under discussion broad politics economics culture and environment all get a look in and the parts don t add up to much This is obviously intentional Bongiorno avoids telling any kind of over arching story but he writes small scale stories so well that I m sure he could have done so Instead he structures the book thematically which allows for some nice juxtapositions the America s Cup and the floating of the currency but doesn t allow for any sense that time was passing The 80s end up looking rather static He also avoids too much discussion of how he sees the decade compared to other historians but when he does mention their disagreements he s clear and concise Perhaps he can public a long essay interpreting the decade for now he s done a very nice job of describing it


10 thoughts on “The Eighties

  1. says:

    As other reviewers have suggested this one falls into the easily mocked gap between journalism and historiography In short it's entertaining though that might rely on the fact that I'm old enough to remember some of the decade under discussion broad politics economics culture and environment all get a look in and the parts don't add up to much This is obviously intentional; Bongiorno avoids telling any kind

  2. says:

    This book was very disappointing Even so because the introduction and later the conclusion promises a comprehensive analysis of an intriguing decade However for the educated reader much of the information has bee

  3. says:

    Bongiorno and I are contemporaries with some uite similar experiences But I left Australia at the start of the Nineties I enjoyed and learned a lot from his recounting and interpretation of years that were so formative for us and as

  4. says:

    Modern Australia emerged in the 1980s though as Frank Bongiorno shows in this wonderful history it was a period as confused about where it was going and what it stood for as our own day seems to usAs the afterword makes clear one of the motives for this book is helping bring context to the regular refrain that the 1980s under the Hawke Keating period saw the gold standard of political leadership and most things would be fixed i

  5. says:

    Many look back at the 1980s in a polarised way Either it was the beginning of the Australian Moment a booming economy and a new place in the w

  6. says:

    I won this in a GR giveaway in 2017 and read it in 2018 As I don't read a lot of nonfiction books of history it did take me a little to pick it up It was ok some of the wording was out but it was an ARC After I finished I gave it to my grandfather and after he read it we talked So even though I wasn't too thrilled about the book it did give me a wonderful conversation with my grandfather

  7. says:

    I won this in a Goodreads giveawayThis was an informative read about a decade that helped shaped Australia A little long winded in parts but overall enjoyable

  8. says:

    A fascinating look at the 80s in Australia Being a child in the period I only had a loose grasp of these events

  9. says:

    Lost interest 2 chapters in guess it was interesting living it ;

  10. says:

    An excellent summation of one of Australia's most transformative decades covering the highs the lows and the weirdnesses of life in this country during the years of the Hawke prime ministership Wide ranging in i

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