Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact

Inga Clendinnen

Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact
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Dancing with Strangers: Europeans and Australians at First Contact

Inga Clendinnen

In January 1788 the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales and a thousand British men and women encountered the people who would be their new neighbors. Dancing with Strangers tells the story of what happened between the first British settlers of Australia and the people they found living there. Inga Clendinnen offers a fresh reading of the earliest written sources, the reports, letters, and journals of the first British settlers in Australia. It reconstructs the difficult path to friendship and conciliation pursued by Arthur Phillip and the local leader ‘Bennelong’ (Baneelon); and then traces the painful destruction of that hard-won friendship. A distinguished and award-winning historian of the Spanish encounters with Aztec and Maya indians of sixteenth-century America, Clendinnen’s analysis of early cultural interactions in Australia touches broader themes of recent historical debates: the perception of the Other, the meanings of culture, and the nature of colonialism and imperialism.

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