Pip Book Reviews: Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe

In this month’s Pip Book Reviews, we showcase two of award-winning author Bruce Pascoe’s latest works.

Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian award-winning author, best known for his 2014 non-fiction work, ‘Dark Emu’ (Magabala Books, 2014), which explores the history of Aboriginal culture.

Bruce also founded the NGO Black Duck Foods, which is committed to traditional food-growing processes that care for Country, returning the economic benefits directly to Indigenous people, and in September 2020 was appointed the University of Melbourne’s Enterprise Professor in Indigenous Agriculture in 2020.

In this month’s Pip Book Reviews we showcase two of Bruce’s latest works.

‘Loving Country: A Guide to Secret Australia’

Loving Country

by Bruce Pascoe And Vicky Shukuroglou (Hardy Grant Books, 2020)

This book invites you to ‘embrace knowledge accrued by thousands of generations’, sharing the great depth of Australian history not often acknowledged as it should be.

Bruce and Vicky invite you to deepen your connection to the country in which you live by focusing on 18 places of Aboriginal significance, sharing their history, the significance and giving us some food for thought.

This book is poetic in its prose; it’s like sitting and having a yarn and having our country’s rich heritage shared with you.

It’s heritage that’s mostly left out of the history books yet remarkable in its age and significance. Like the Brewarrina fish traps, which according to Bruce, are arguably the oldest human constructions on earth at 40,000 years old. That makes them older than the pyramids, yet they are almost unheard of.

It is a privilege to have this knowledge shared with us. Thank you, Bruce. Thank you, Vicky.

And one for the kids…

Bruce Pascoe
Photo: Bettina Richter

‘Young Dark Emu: A Truer History’

Young Dark Emu

by Bruce Pascoe (Magabala Books, 2019)

Aboriginal Australians have been growing, harvesting and storing grain, then baking it into bread, for 65,000 years. They not only caught fish, but farmed fish in sophisticated aquaculture systems for at least 40,000 years. They lived in well- designed permanent houses in villages of over 1,000 people.

Bruce Pascoe has pored over the diaries and eyewitness accounts of early European explorers and settlers to glean an extraordinary snapshot of what life was like for Aboriginal people pre-European settlement.

Taken from his book ‘Dark Emu’, for older readers, Bruce Pascoe has now produced a version to capture the minds of younger Australians.

Sections include farming techniques, buildings, food storage and sustainable futures using native foods. Illustrations and photos weave through a mixture of stories and statements that are both positive and realistic. We can only hope this valuable work lands in the hands of Australian children everywhere.

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