In this companion volume of Thomas Keneally's widely acclaimed history of the Australian people, the vast range of characters who have formed their national story are brought vividly to life. Immigrants and Aboriginal resistance figures, bushrangers and pastoralists, working men and pioneering women, artists and hard-nosed radicals, politicians and soldiers all populate this richly drawn portrait of a vibrant land on the cusp of nationhood and social maturity. From the 1860s to the great rifts wrought by World War I, an era commenced in which Australians pursued glimmering visions: of equity in a promised land. It was a time of social experiment and reform, of industrial radicalism and women's rights. But as much as larrikin anti-authoritarianism was celebrated, Australians retained a provincialism - there was no Australian revolution. With a rich assortment of contradictory, inspiring and surprising characters, Tom Keneally brings to life the people of a young and cocky nation.