Picture of author.

For other authors named Tim Flannery, see the disambiguation page.

Tim Flannery (1) has been aliased into Tim F. Flannery.

32+ Works 4,495 Members 88 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Image credit: Uploaded from Tim Flannery's wikipedia page 10 Nov 2012

Works by Tim Flannery

Works have been aliased into Tim F. Flannery.

Europe: A Natural History (2018) 204 copies
The Birth of Sydney (1999) 113 copies
The Birth of Melbourne (2002) 66 copies

Associated Works

Works have been aliased into Tim F. Flannery.

The Life & Adventures of John Nicol Mariner (1822) — Introduction, some editions — 152 copies
Fragile Earth: Views of a Changing World (2006) — Contributor — 71 copies
Granta 153: Second Nature (2020) — Contributor — 37 copies
The Best Australian Essays: A Ten-Year Collection (2011) — Contributor — 29 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 28 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2010 (2010) — Contributor — 23 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2002 (2002) — Contributor — 22 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 22 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 21 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 21 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 20 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2003 (2003) — Contributor — 15 copies
The Best Australian Essays 2014 (2014) — Contributor — 9 copies


Common Knowledge



I only had one problem with this collection of Australian exploration fragments...each snippet of diary or memoir left me wanting more.

This is a well-chosen collection of accounts from diverse viewpoints. I especially liked the rare Aboriginal account, seeing how different in tone they were from the typical European story-telling template.

I always knew the Australian outback was an unforgiving environment, but these accounts brought this home in a more personal way. Likewise, I knew that Aborigines had been treated badly, but was viscerally shocked at one of the few accounts from a woman and her casual description of the abduction of an Aboriginal woman - presumably for a servant. You can't just steal people!

The final account was well chosen - the end of an era for several reasons. The book has left me with much to think on and much to explore.
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weemanda | 3 other reviews | Nov 2, 2023 |
A thoroughly fascinating work by a great Australian writer and scientist. Flannery examines the relationship of new arrivals to their land, with Australia as the useful test case. As a land that was populated in the last 100,000 years, but at a much earlier date than, for instance, the Americas, it presents an ideal site for a study of a) why its flora and fauna evolved the way they did, b) what impact the first Australians had on the landscape over their tens of thousands of years of ownership; c) what impact this "co-evolution" had on them, and d) what massive changes were wrought by colonists and conquerors, aka my ancestors, to this existing ecosystem. In contrast, Flannery uses our near neighbour New Zealand, which remained devoid of people until around 1,000 years ago, and so serves as the perfect antithesis.

Flannery deals in specific cases, but each chapter is manageable from a layperson's point of view. His tone is one of awe at nature, red in tooth and claw. His pedigree is exemplary, as Flannery is able to use examples of where he himself discovered fossils or evidence, so that's always a plus.

The downside of the book, inevitably, is that it's 25 years old. This doesn't invalidate the text, but it has an impact on the usefulness of the first two-thirds of the book. The first section, dealing in pre-human evolution in Australia and surrounds, is chock-full of discoveries just being made, or questioned, in the early 1990s. So much work has been done in this space, that Flannery's work serves more as a guide to other studies rather than a current scientific document. The second section focuses on Aboriginal Australians, and here Flannery was ahead of the curve. Analysis of the relationship of our first peoples to their land has spread and deepened considerably since then. But none of this is his fault. A solid read.
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therebelprince | 4 other reviews | Oct 24, 2023 |
Summary: A call to arms to combat the drivers of man made climate change. The author contextualises the issue quite well and urges everyone to take action before the impacts outstrip our ability to cope.

Things I liked:

Structure: The first section contextualises the issue; second section makes the argument that things are pretty bad and getting worse; the third section provides some angles on actions that can be taken and provides additional detail and supporting arguments. The structure works well and provides a good pace with information provided in the same order that I required it.

Impartial ?!?: Caveat; I was expecting a rabid, zealous call to arms for action and general trashing of all sceptics. The arguments, by contrast I I found remarkably restrained and even handed. This stopped my arguments from closing over, which, ironically, probably made the authors arguments more effective for me.

Things I thought could be improved:

The authors bias as a biologist comes through. I thought there were a few too many specific stories of particular fauna that is being impacted by global warming. Arguments would have been more effective if they kept the focus on the impact climate change was going to have on humans.

Bias: The author can't avoid an occasional intolerant dig at the 'sceptics' I noticed a couple of times when this happened and found it off putting each time that I did. Basically I don't think you need to go there if your arguments are strong enough.

Highlight: The story about the dude in like 1850 who worked out that ice ages on the earth were being driven by the earth having a non-circular orbit around the sun. Loved it, made me want to read more about geology.
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benkaboo | 19 other reviews | Aug 18, 2022 |
As a broad overview of the natural history of a continent, this book is excellent. I read a lot of books similar to this or books that touch on some aspect of the geology of Europe or palaeontological discoveries in Europe but I have learned only bits and pieces along the way.

My favorite parts are the early beginnings of Europe as an archipelago of islands that were off and on connected with each other or off and on connected with various bits of other land masses that later became continents. Did you know there were small-sized, island-living versions of many common dinosaurs? I did not know this and these discoveries were made many years ago.

I also liked Flannery's discussion of current efforts to re-wild parts of Europe and bring back some of the larger land mammals that are either threatened or are extinct on the continent. Again, much of this I was unaware of and I found it an interesting discussion of what is currently taking place.

My only quibble is that there are times that I feel some of Flannery's fluffing it up a little bit by being too one-sided in his opinions about various theories. I can't cite specific examples because I returned the book to the library and did not note the pages or the specific references...

Regardless of that, it is still a well-written book and I recommend to anyone who has an interest in natural history and the sciences.
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DarrinLett | 6 other reviews | Aug 14, 2022 |



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