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y separately published work icon A History of Australia single work   non-fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 1962-1987... 1962-1987 A History of Australia
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In 1962, the first volume of Manning Clark's "A History of Australia" appeared. For the next two-and-a-half decades Clark unfolded his tragic celebration of white Australian history. Today, the six-volume history is one of the masterpieces of Australian literature. It is also one of the most passionately debated visions of Australian history. Clark's Australians are men and women of lively goodwill and deep sinfulness, of generous idealism and unthinking brutality. He dramatizes the motivating forces of Australian life - cowardice and vision, cruelty and defiance, greatness of spirit and the spiritual vacuity of the suburbs - all of them locked in the unceasing struggle which builds a nation. Michael Cathcart has re-orchestrated Clark's epic narrative in this single volume. Every page of this abridgement rings with Manning Clark's voice. Here, at last, the general reader can encounter the deep resonances, pessimism and passion of Manning Clark - Australian historian and prophet. Michael Cathcart is co-author of "Mission to the South Seas: the Voyage of the Duff" and author of "Defending the National Tuckshop", a study of conservative responses to the Great Depression.' (Publication summary)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Carlton, Parkville - Carlton area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria,: Melbourne University Press , 1962-1987 .
      Extent: 6 vols.p.
      Description: illus., maps, ports.
      ISBN: 0522842232 (v.5), 052284166X (v.2), 0522841473 (v.4), 052284054X (v.3), 0522840086 (v.1), 0522843522 (v.6)

Works about this Work

y separately published work icon History Wars : The Peter Ryan–Manning Clark Controversy Doug Munro , Canberra : Australian National University Press , 2021 23639649 2021 multi chapter work criticism

'‘In 1993, Manning Clark came under severe (posthumous) attack in the pages of Quadrant by none other than Peter Ryan, who had published five of the six volumes of Clark’s epic A History of Australia. In applying what he called “an overdue axe to a tall poppy”, Ryan lambasted the History as “an imposition on Australian credulity” and declared its author a fraud, both as a historian and a person. This unprecedented public assault by a publisher on his best-selling author was a sensation at the time and remains lodged in the public memory. In History Wars, Doug Munro forensically examines the right and wrongs of Ryan’s allegations, concluding that Clark was more sinned against than sinning and that Ryan repeatedly misrepresented the situation. More than just telling a story, Munro places the Ryan-Clark controversy within the context of Australia’s History Wars. This book is an illuminating saga of that ongoing contest.’

— James Curran, University of Sydney

'‘The Ryan-Clark controversy … speaks to the place of Manning Clark in Australia’s national imagination. Had Ryan taken his axe to another historian, it’s unlikely that we would be still talking about it 30 years later. But Clark was the author and keeper of Australia’s national story, however imperfect his scholarship and however blinkered that story. Few, if any, historians in the Anglo-American world have occupied the space that Clark occupied by dint of will, force of personality, and felicity of pen.’

— Donald Wright, University of New Brunswick' (Publication summary)

Elective Affinities Manning Clark, Patrick White and Sidney Nolan Mark McKenna , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Patrick White beyond the Grave : New Critical Perspectives 2015; (p. 81-100)

'Mark McKenna traces the ups and downs of another queer relationship, the oftentimes unreciprocated love of Australia's 'great' historian Manning Clark for the visionary he saw in White. He shows how Clark's monumental multi-volume History of Australia expresses greater allegiance to the preoccupations of Australia's 'elite' mid-century writers and artists, notably White and Sidney Nolan, than to the work of Clark's contemporaries in the academic discipline of history.' (Introduction 7-8)

Six Pack : Volume One of A History of Australia is Published Mark McKenna , 2013 single work criticism
— Appears in: Telling Stories : Australian Life and Literature 1935–2012 2013; (p. 240-246)
Anxiety and Spite in a Man of Letters Ross Fitzgerald , Stephen Holt , 2012 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 12-13 May 2012; (p. 22)
Riding on the 'Uncurl'd Clouds' : The Intersections of History and Fiction Brian Matthews , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Cambridge History of Australian Literature 2009; (p. 344-359)
'...the intersection of history and fiction, of works of record and works of the imagination, has been going on for a long time in the Australian creative culture.' (346)
100 Most Influential Australians : Manning Clark : Historian 2006 single work column
— Appears in: The Bulletin , 4 July vol. 124 no. 6527 2006; (p. 94)
Being There : The Strange History of Manning Clark Mark McKenna , 2007 extract biography (Manning Clark : A Life)
— Appears in: The Monthly , March no. 21 2007; (p. 22-37) The Best Australian Essays 2007 2007; (p. 199-226)
Manning Clark : Flaws in the Glass of History Christopher Bantick , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 17 March 2007; (p. B5)
Manning Clark and A History of Australia Jane Gleeson-White , 2007 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Classics : Fifty Great Writers and Their Celebrated Works 2007; (p. 212-214)
Manning Clark's Anti-Semitism Hal Colebatch , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Quadrant , May vol. 52 no. 5 2008; (p. 92-97)
Further to comments by Robert Manne, Colebatch argues 'that the evidence for Clark's anti-Semitism is obvious and overwhelming'.


1988 winner NBC Banjo Awards NBC Banjo Award Awarded for vol. 6.
1982 winner National Book Council Award for Australian Literature Awarded for vol. 5.
1974 winner The Age Book of the Year Award Non-Fiction Prize Awarded for vol.3, published in 1973.
1968-1969 winner Ernest Scott Prize for Volume 2
1962-1963 joint winner Ernest Scott Prize Volume 1 - with Dr A Geoffrey Serle,The Golden Age: A History of the Colony of  Victoria 1851‐61
Last amended 10 Feb 2017 09:56:11
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