He's Written a Book on Almost Every Subject under the Sun, and Now Thomas Keneally Has Turned His Attention to Australia's History; Keneally's Living History

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WHEN you think about it, is there anything Tom Keneally can't write about?

It really doesn't matter what the subject is - his beloved rugby league, the Irish question, or World War II, Keneally has written a book about it.

So, it's not surprising when he explains in the foreword of his latest tome, Australians Origins to Eureka, that the book came about at a publisher's planning meeting. Who better, his publisher reasoned, to ask to write a two-volume history of Australia than the 'Master of the Word' himself.

What makes this history book different to others is that Keneally has used people, rather than events, to tell the story of Australia. Everybody from convicts to Aborigines, bushrangers to gold-seekers fill the 600-odd pages of this carefully researched book, which also contains the most amazing illustrations, paintings and photographs.

It's a hard ask to make history come alive, and despite Keneally's engaging prose and his obvious love of both Australia and history, the books does feel sometimes a bit too dense. …