The Fatal Shore
By Robert Hughes
I'm a big fan of Robert Hughes' art criticism. I sometimes think I married an artist because of the dashing figure Hughes cut in his 1980 television series about modern art, The Shock of the New. I chose his history of Australia because it was the missing part of my understanding of my own country; it awakened me to Australia's brutal founding. I was taught a very Eurocentric history of the continent: the myth of the empty land waiting to be discovered. This book provoked probably the most profound realigning of a white schoolgirl's point of view of my country's history to a deeper, more nuanced one. And I love Hughes' tone—he just makes history sexy.