I know we should never judge a book by its cover, but Iain McCalman’s ‘passionate history’ of the Great Barrier Reef is a book that truly delivers on the promise of its gloriously sumptuous jacket. Brilliantly coloured in the hues of the reef itself, it is a montage of historical photographs of Indigenous children engrossed in spearfishing above brightly painted fish, while in the distance a fully rigged ship sails past. Closer inspection reveals the outlandishly accurate colours of William Saville-Kent’s reef species under the dust cover: further intimation of the treasures that lie within and the compelling stories and images that will emerge.
Danielle Clode is the author of nine books of environmental history, including Voyages to the South Seas which won the Victorian Premier’s Award for Non-fiction in 2007. In 2014 she was the ABR Dahl Trust Fellow and her article ‘Seeing the Wood for the Trees’ appeared in the November 2014 issue of ABR.
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May 2019, no. 411
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