Dreamers and Schemers by Frank Bongiorno | Black Inc.
Dreamers and Schemers
Dreamers and Schemers
Dreamers and Schemers
Dreamers and Schemers
Dreamers and Schemers
Dreamers and Schemers

From First Nations politics to the democracy sausage, Dreamers and Schemers never disappoints. It will stand as one of the most essential works in Australian history for decades to come. 
—Mark McKenna

Dreamers and Schemers: A Political History of Australia

Awards for Dreamers and Schemers

  • Winner, ACT Book of the Year Award 2023
  • Winner, Henry Mayer Book Prize 2023 
  • Shortlisted, Australian History Prize in the 2023 NSW Premier's History Awards
  • Shortlisted, Educational Publishing Awards Australia, Scholarly Book of the Year Award 2023
  • Longlisted, Australian Political Book of the Year Award 2023
  • Highly commended, Ernest Scott Prize 2023

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About the author

Frank Bongiorno

Frank Bongiorno is the author of three acclaimed histories: Dreamers and SchemersThe Eighties and The Sex Lives of Australians. He is professor of history at the Australian National University and president …

More about Frank Bongiorno

Praise for Dreamers and Schemers

‘Carefully distilled and astutely crafted … Bongiorno writes the Australian story like no other, with a sharp and sensitive intellect that allows multiple voices and perspectives to speak. Essential reading for anyone wanting to tread the past of Australia’s formation and to peer into the future for a glimpse of what might be next.’ —Miriam Corowa

‘Penetrating and vividly told, this a political history that broadens our understanding of politics; one that offers genuinely fresh insights and resists tidy generalisations. From First Nations politics to the democracy sausage, Dreamers and Schemers never disappoints. It will stand as one of the most essential works in Australian history for decades to come.’ —Mark McKenna

‘A perceptive, lucid and wry history of Australian politics. With his characteristic eye for humane detail, Bongiorno reveals what we, the Australian people, have demanded from those who represent us, and the ways that politicians and activists have responded. This rich, sweeping history is an essential primer for all Australians, especially the dreamers and schemers who seek to lead us today.’ —Michelle Arrow

‘With acuity and grace, Frank Bongiorno divines the soul of the nation, not on distant battlefields or down glimmering mineshafts, but in the cut and thrust of everlasting political contestation. A masterful, sweeping account of the ideas, aspirations and imagination that have fired Australians’ relationship to power and its sometimes fair, often sordid distribution. All told with a cheeky eye for detail and nose for skullduggery by a historian in full archival, narrative and rhetorical flight. A landmark work of Australian political history destined to be savoured by teachers, students and lovers of history alike.’ —Clare Wright

‘Bongiorno is one of our premier historians and this is his masterwork. An original take on our politics and people, written with an open mind and warm Australian heart.’ —George Megalogenis

‘In bringing our political past to life, Bongiorno has enhanced that sense, and given texture and context to the politics to come.’ —Richard King, The Australian

‘Frank Bongiorno’s political history of Australia is a masterpiece of comprehensiveness and compression.’—Judith Brett, The Age

‘A prodigious effort … Bongiorno is to be congratulated on his grand synthesis’ —Marilyn Lake, The Conversation

‘Bongiorno is the master of the political moment’ —Ian Lipke, Queensland Reviewers Collective

‘Dreamers and Schemers … promises to become the definitive Australian political history. Essential summer reading.’ —Kieran Pender, Australian Book Review ‘Book of the Year 2022’

‘Splendidly written, insightful and comprehensive, this would make an ideal Christmas present. Bongiorno is a great scholar and superb communicator.’ —Professor The Honourable Barry Jones, Australian Academy of Science ‘Fellows’ reading, listening and viewing list 2022’

‘...bound to become an Australian classic. An absorbing and scholarly account of Australia's political history, it is also beautifully and accessibly written, and leavened by occasional flashes of humour.’ —Alison Booth, The Canberra Times ‘Reviewers picks: Best books of 2022’

‘Frank Bongiorno's Dreamers and Schemers provides a refreshing new perspective on Australian history’ —Colin Steele, The Canberra Times ‘Reviewers picks: Best books of 2022’

‘If you want a comprehensive political history of Australia in a single volume, this is the book for you.’ —Andrew Leigh ‘Favourite books of 2022’

‘I haven’t read another book quite like this one that is so disciplined in its focus on politics as the framework of analysis. It’s an important book, and well worth reading.’ —Janine Rizzetti, Resident Judge

‘Depicting a wonderful parade of dreamers and schemers, Bongiorno surveys moments of political renewal and sheds fresh light on our democratic life. It’s a captivating account.’ —Rama Gaind, PS News

‘Great insights into how we have ended up where we are today in Australian politics.’ —Peter Walker, Ovens and Murray Advertiser

‘Dreamers and Schemers will serve as an important text for students of Australian politics and history, as well as providing rich rewards for the general reader.’ —Bernard Whimpress, The Newtown Review of Books

‘Bongiorno’s ambitious contribution to the genre is laudable for its civic-mindedness, impressive for its range, and overwhelmingly successful in its own terms’ —Sean Scalmer, Australian Historical Studies Journal

‘Frank Bongiorno is always adventurous with the way he unearths the history of Australia.’ —ABC Radio National

‘I wholeheartedly recommend this book to both general and specialist readers. It should certainly be on the bookshelves of any Australian who is interested in learning more about the dreamers and schemers that have made their country what it is today.’ —Jatinder Mann, University of Reading, JACANZS

‘The book’s perceptive honesty and contemporary sensibility shine throughout the narrative, providing readers with a fresh perspective on the subject ... Bongiorno has achieved the difficult task of synthesising a large volume of material in a coherent, clear and accessible manner, and his fluent style allows deeper insight into the complex dynamics that have shaped politics in Australia.’ —Judges’ comments, ACT Book of the Year Award

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