Marngrook and Other Award-winning Stories from the Stringybark Australian History Award

Rated 4.75/5 based on 12 reviews
Twenty-six award-winning short stories vividly bring Australian history to life, in this anthology from both established and new writers. Chosen by Gregory Blake, Jamie Hodder, Nadine Smith and David Vernon, Australian history has never been more interestingly and entertainingly presented. More

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About David Vernon

I am a freelance writer and editor. I am father of two boys. For the last few years I have focussed my writing interest on chronicling women and men’s experience of childbirth and promoting better support for pregnant women and their partners. Recently, for a change of pace, I am writing two Australian history books. In 2014 I was elected Chair of the ACT Writers Centre.

In 2010 I established the Stringybark Short Story Awards to promote the short story as a literary form.

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Gabion reviewed on on Oct. 28, 2014

I'm with Jack Benson on this one. Never judge a book by its cover. However, I note that what is on the cover is in the book and its a beaut book. Some of these tales are just excellent while others are simply a compelling read. If you want an easy way into Australian history, do have a read.
(reviewed 3 years after purchase)
Jack A Benson reviewed on on Feb. 28, 2013

Never judge a book by its cover. I saw the cover and I thought, nah, but I've read a few other Stringybark publications so I gave it a go. There are some gems in this collection. The title story Marngrook is just poetic - as well as fascinating. Australian history comes alive in this collection. Well worth a read.
(reviewed 7 months after purchase)
Em Brister reviewed on on Aug. 20, 2012

I'm delighted to find another great book from Stringybark. This collection of eclectic historically inspired stories makes me want to read more history. What more can a book do than to inspire!
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
V.S. Daley reviewed on on July 9, 2012

I think that it is intriguing that this book has been categorised as both fiction and non-fiction. It is not an error but absolutely right. Twenty-six authors re-interpret and re-tell important and less important events in Australia's short history. This is a wonderful book for giving an intriguing insight into many nooks and crannies of Australian history. It is well written, well laid out and down right entertaining.
(reviewed 86 days after purchase)
Clarissa White reviewed on on July 5, 2012

I think I'm on a role with this Stringybark anthologies. Having just reviewed a bunch of books that clearly have the view that spelling and proof-reading are optional extras - this book was a delight to read. The title story, Marngood, is pure music to the eyes. Beautifully and poetically written. Who would think that football can be written about in such a way? Julian Howard's story, "Upon the Flat" is very compelling. This is a great collection of stories that deserve a wider audience. I don't think Australian's know nearly enough about their country - if all history was written like this, they would.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Jane Doilly reviewed on on July 1, 2012

There is a perception that history has to be dull and indeed the introduction to this books also makes this assertion. A shame as history is only dull when written by dull people. Clearly this collection has NOT been written by dull people. Great tales and a wonderful eclectic collection that highlights just how interesting history really is.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)
Daniel Vane reviewed on on June 28, 2012

"People don't understand how desperate you have to be to eat a boot," says one of the characters in this entertaining anthology of Australian history stories. Fiction, fact, faction? It's all here and all fascinating. Does sauce on a boot make it easier to eat? Maybe this book will shed light on this question. I read this cover to cover (does that make sense with an e-book) in 48 hours. Each story is unique and gives an insight into Australian history.
(reviewed 79 days after purchase)
Bronnie Wu reviewed on on April 16, 2012

This is an eclectic collection of Australian tales. All based in fact, they intrigue and fascinate. I was unable to put this anthology down. I hope Stringybark does another history anthology this year. I can't wait!
(reviewed 20 days after purchase)
Peter Thompson reviewed on on April 9, 2012

Australian history is not normally my thing but having had success with other Stringybark e-books I thought I'd give it a go. I am delighted with this book - I read history without realising I was reading history! What a great collection of stories! They piqued my interest and I have now looked up many of these stories on Wikipedia to get a sense of how much is fact and how much is fiction. This is an entertaining and educational collection.
(reviewed 19 days after purchase)
Sandra Black reviewed on on March 26, 2012

History is dry - isn't it? Dusty, musty and rusty. Nope. What a wonderful collection of fascinating stories. The authors in this anthology have winkled out from the pages of history some fascinating stories that few of us know about — and brought them to life. Quality is so variable in e-books. But the production quality, editing and layout are excellent. I'm hard pressed to find fault. Oh yes. It's not long enough.
(reviewed 5 days after purchase)
Sean Q Lee reviewed on on Jan. 23, 2012

A fantastic book that has something for everyone. There are stories in here that you will keep going back to again and again. An interesting and well written selection with barely a dud page. Thoroughly enoyable.
(reviewed 9 days after purchase)
JB Rowley reviewed on on Jan. 16, 2012

This anthology takes the reader down a new track through Australian history. Stamina and endurance, qualities required by those who were part of early Australia, are not required as each story is engaging in content and no more than 1800 words in length.

Along with stories exploring early Australia are stories of events as recent as 2004 (Dianne Bates’ 'Badu Boys Rule').

'Marngrook' by Sean Quentin Lee, the winning story, throws some light on early influences in a game that most Australians seem to be obsessed with – Aussie Rules football. Football is not my thing but from this story I learned about Tom Wills, a significant historical figure in Australian Football and was able to impress some football-mad friends by making reference to Wills and Marngrook.

Another story that caught my attention was 'Footsteps in the Dark' by Elsie Johnstone which is set in Albert Park where I live. However, I did not need the geographical connection to be engaged in this story. I was drawn back into time effortlessly by the author’s crisp and captivating writing style. My curiosity was quickly aroused by the mention of murder in the first few lines. A recount of the murder of a young girl alerts the reader to the possibility that the story’s protagonist might be the next victim. Thereafter, I followed every word, expecting the murderer to strike at any moment.

Harold Mally’s 'Act of Defiance' offers an insight into the character of Sir John Franklin as well as that of his wife, Lady Jane Franklin. Mally’s skilful use of humour engages the reader and highlights eccentricities in the penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land. I love the last line. It is a shame I cannot quote it here but that would spoil the story for you.

Anne Atkinson in 'Donald Charles at Ziza' introduced me to an Australian military leader I was not aware of; a soldier who was man enough to show respect to the enemy. Respect can generate improbable outcomes.

JB Rowley: author of The Woman at the Back of the Room.
(reviewed 6 days after purchase)

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