In this lively, very readable book, the eminent and controversial historian Manning Clark portrays the evolution of Australia with remarkable breadth of vision. He begins with the Aborigines and the coming of white men, then traces the progress of the First Fleet to Botany Bay, the unfurling of the British flag in January 1788 to the accompaniment of a regimental band, and Governor Arthur Phillip's harangue to the convicts in his charge. With a provocative style the author describes convicts and settlers, architecture, exploration, immigrants and squatters, politics and culture, the gold rushes, radicals and nationalists, the world wars. The incisive concluding chapter deals with the years from 1969 to 1986 - Manning Clark's 'age of ruins.' This elegantly written and well-illustrated book brings to life the people and events that have shaped Australia's history.