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'Australia is a lucky country, run mainly by second-rate people who share its luck.'
The phrase 'the lucky country' has become part of our lexicon; it's forever being invoked in debates about the Australian way of life, but is all too often misused by those blind to Horne's irony.
When it was first published in 1964 The Lucky Country caused a sensation. Horne took Australian society to task for its philistinism, provincialism and dependence. The book was a wake-up call to an unimaginative nation, an indictment of a country mired in mediocrity and manacled to its past. Although it's a study of the confident Australia of the 1960s, the book still remains illuminating and insightful decades later. The Lucky Country is valuable not only as a source of continuing truths and revealing snapshots of the past, but above all as a key to understanding the anxieties and discontents of Australian society today.
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Professor Donald Horne was one of Australia's foremost academics, historians and philosophers. He was a professor of political science at the University of New South Wales, and chancellor of the University of Canberra. Donald Horne penned over twenty books, chaired a number of cultural organisations, and served on several bodies concerned with constitutional reform. Donald Horne died in 2005.
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