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Slow Catastrophes: Living with Drought in Australia by Rebecca Jones

Cover image of slow catastrophes

Slow Catastrophes: Living with Drought in Australia by  Rebecca Jones (Monash University Publishing) 

Judges' Comments 

Slow Catastrophes is an innovative social and cultural history that deals with one of the recurring features of the Australian environment. Drawing with great skill on the diaries of farmers and their families from the 1870s to the 1950s, Rebecca Jones reveals that drought is as much human and emotional as it is environmental and economic.

This is a beautifully written account concerned with the experiences and feelings of ordinary country people. It breaks new ground in identifying the range of resources and strategies that farmers used to deal with drought, and of how they learned from often harsh experience lessons long understood by Indigenous people. In uncovering these stories of suffering and defeat, as well as of resilience and success, Slow Catastrophes also enriches our understanding of the challenges faced by so many farmers in our own times.