'Inga Clendinnen believes that democratic people need true stories about their past. In this engaging essay, based on Clendinnen's 1999 Boyer Lectures, she argues for the rejection of any single, simple account of the Australian past. The reader catches the experience of individuals through fragments -- a woman being manhandled on a beach, an old man remembering the hard lessons of his boyhood in a Jesuit mission, an old woman urgently dancing the history of her country.
'What whites have done to indigenous Australians has been described as the 'locked cupboard' of Australian history. Now, "the cupboard is locked no more". This frank and challenging review of race relations in Australia helps us cast off prejudice and foregone conclusions and to look with fresh eyes. It enables us to understand better how this nation came to be what it is today.' (Publisher's blurb)