Educated at the University of Melbourne, Blainey is known as one of Australia's most significant and popular historians. His well-known books include The Tyranny of Distance (1966), Triumph of the Nomads (1975), A Shorter History of Australia (1994), Black Kettle and Full Moon (2003), A Short History of the World (2000), A Short History of the 20th Century (2005) and A Short History of Christianity (2011).
Professor Blainey held chairs in economic history and then in plain history at the University of Melbourne for many years, and for some of those years he chaired the Australia Council. He has served on many Commonwealth government agencies, including the Australian War Memorial, the Literature Board, the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australia-China Council. After his retirement he became a regular contributor to the Australian and Melbourne's Herald-Sun.
Professor Blainey was awarded the Order of Australia in 1975, and is one of the few Australians whose biography appears in Encyclopaedia Britannica. In 2012, his A Short History of Christianity was shortlisted in the Non-Fiction category of the Prime Minister's Literary Awards and was the second placegetter in the Australian Christian Book of the Year Award.
The vast continent of Australia was settled in two main streams, far apart in time and origin.
'The first came ashore some 50,000 years ago when the islands of Australia, Tasmania and New Guinea were one. The second began to arrive from Europe at the end of the eighteenth century. Each had to come to terms with the land they found, and each had to make sense of the other. '
'The long Aboriginal occupation of Australia witnessed spectacular changes. The rising of the seas isolated the continent and preserved a nomadic way of life, while agriculture was revolutionising other parts of the world. Over millennia, the Aboriginal people mastered the land's climates, seasons and resources.'
'Traditional Aboriginal life came under threat the moment Europeans crossed the world to plant a new society in an unknown land. That land in turn rewarded, tricked, tantalised and often defeated the new arrivals. The meeting of the two cultures is one of the most difficult and complex meetings in recorded history. '
'In this book Professor Geoffrey Blainey returns first to the subject of his celebrated works on Australian history, Triumph of the Nomads (1975) and A Land Half Won (1980), retelling the story of our history up until 1850 in light of the latest research. He has changed his view about vital aspects of the Indigenous and early British history of this land, and looked at other aspects for the first time.' (Source: Publisher's website)