For everyone Book review: The Idea of Australia, Julianne Schultz (Allen&Unwin)

COVID has been experienced differently across Australia, and much of that has to do with old divides that just got bigger: class, race, age and gender have all played roles in how a person’s pandemic journey has played out. Julianne Schultz, who edited Griffith Review for more than 12 years, ventures to explain the situation Australia finds itself in now, asking questions of identity and elegantly scrutinising whether we are really the nation that we think we are.

Her work as an academic and editor has shown her that we exist as a nation balanced between profound creative energy, generosity and imaginative ambition, and its opposite: feeble, inward-looking, cautious, afraid of other people and nervous about change. Schultz knows that Australia can be a fair and compassionate place, and her vision for Australia is best understood through the lens of history and the stories she tells here, integrating memoir and journalism – suggesting in profound and practical ways why we need to be bold if we are to realise our potential as a nation.

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