The Fierce Country: True stories from Australia's unsettled heart, 1830 to today
The Fierce Country holds no malice, but neither pity. It just sits, and bakes, and waits. We do the rest. We provoke it when we mine above its aquifers. Weaken it, and ourselves, when we leave mountains of asbestos to blow away in the wind. Misunderstand it when we see it as nothing more than a resource. Resent it when it takes our children.
The Fierce Country, perhaps, is in our minds as much as anything.
The open spaces and isolated places outside Australia's cities have unsettled us from first European settlement to today - often with very good reason.
In this nail-biting book combining the notorious and little-known, acclaimed author Stephen Orr has collected true stories that have shaped and continue to haunt the Australian psyche: mysteries, disappearances, mistreatment and murder.
Fatal conflicts between an Aboriginal tracker and the police employers hunting his community. An itinerant conman picking up tips for the perfect murder from a famous novelist around a campfire on the Rabbit-Proof Fence. A schoolteacher and her students kidnapped en masse in 1970s rural Victoria. And that fateful day when Peter Falconio pulled over beside a desert highway.
Together these tales chart an undercurrent of shifting cultural tensions as Australians find, lose and question who we are.