Author(s): Donald Horne
Damien Cave: (New York Times bureau chief in Sydney & friend of Bookoccino)
"This often-oversimplified classic raises difficult questions about Australia's elites that are still worth asking. Are Australians, for example, still 'a largely non-contemplative people' who have "a limited view of the possible"? Do they 'seek similarity where it often does not exist -- even amongst themselves'?"
With an introduction by Hugh Mackay'Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.'The phrase 'the lucky country' has become part of our lexicon; it's forever being invoked in debates about the Australian way of life, but is all too often misused by those blind to Horne's irony.When it was first published in 1964 The Lucky Country caused a sensation. Horne took Australian society to task for its philistinism, provincialism and dependence. The book was a wake-up call to an unimaginative nation, an indictment of a country mired in mediocrity and manacled to its past. Although it's a study of the confident Australia of the 1960s, the book still remains illuminating and insightful decades later. The Lucky Country is valuable not only as a source of continuing truths and revealing snapshots of the past, but above all as a key to understanding the anxieties and discontents of Australian society today.
Donald Horne has written more than twenty books, including works of social and cultural critique, history, novels, memoirs and satire, and has contributed to or edited a further twenty. His books include The Lucky Country, Looking for Leadership, The Story of the Australian People, Into the Open, His Excellency's Pleasure and The Avenue of the Fair Go. He is an emeritus professor from the University of New South Wales, where he taught for fifteen years, and was chancellor of the University of Canberra. He has chaired a number of cultural organisations, including the Australia Council, and served on several bodies concerned with constitutional reform, including the Australian Constitutional Commission. He was twice editor of The Bulletin; editor of The Observer and Quadrant; and contributing editor of Newsweek International. He has also written for many journals and newspapers in Australia, Britain, Europe and the United States. He is an Officer of the Order of Australia. His book 10 Steps to a More Tolerant Australia was published to critical acclaim in 2003. He died in 2005.