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Leviathan: The unauthorised biography of Sydney

von John Birmingham

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1527143,792 (3.88)6
"An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before. 'To peer deeply into this ghost city, the one lying beneath the surface, is to understand that Sydney has a soul and that it is a very dark place indeed.' Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney's shadow history. Terrifying tsunamis, corpse-robbing morgue staff, killer cops, neo-Nazis, power junkies and bumbling SWOS teams electrify this epic tale of a city with a cold vacuum for a moral core. Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present to reveal a ghost city beneath the surface of concrete and glass. In Birmingham's alternative history of Sydney, the yawning chasm between the megarich and the lumpen masses is as evident in the insane wealth of the new elites as it was in the head-spinning rapacity of the NSW Rum Corps. This is a city shattered by the nexus between government, big money and the underworld, where the glittering prizes go to the strong, not the just. Combining intensive research with the p… (mehr)
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A monster of a book, "Leviathan" takes a bit of a scattergun approach to the history of Sydney, including sections on important moments like the Rum Rebellion and the convict era but missing others in favour of perhaps not quite so important sections on corpse ratting and the like.

Birmingham's style of writing can eventually grate but "Leviathan" is a good read that will remind you of Sydney's lurid past. And, yes, I had never heard of corpse ratting until I read the book and I'm not sure if I want to know about it now. ( )
  MiaCulpa | Aug 29, 2017 |
An interesting look at the connection between crime and politics which has been part of the fabric of society since the arrival in Sydney of the first convicts.
I feel the essence of larrikanism in John Birmingham's writing and this book contains many humerous moments while providing a very informative history. ( )
  TheWasp | Apr 24, 2015 |
Very well-written history book; a shame it never came out in the US or UK. The author is currently working on a new edition, according to his blog. ( )
  bsackerman | Mar 29, 2009 |
This book provides an interesting insight into the dark depths of the history of Sydney. Who knew such a young city could have such a colourful history of corruption and crime. ( )
  joyfulgirl | Jan 19, 2009 |
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"An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before. 'To peer deeply into this ghost city, the one lying beneath the surface, is to understand that Sydney has a soul and that it is a very dark place indeed.' Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney's shadow history. Terrifying tsunamis, corpse-robbing morgue staff, killer cops, neo-Nazis, power junkies and bumbling SWOS teams electrify this epic tale of a city with a cold vacuum for a moral core. Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present to reveal a ghost city beneath the surface of concrete and glass. In Birmingham's alternative history of Sydney, the yawning chasm between the megarich and the lumpen masses is as evident in the insane wealth of the new elites as it was in the head-spinning rapacity of the NSW Rum Corps. This is a city shattered by the nexus between government, big money and the underworld, where the glittering prizes go to the strong, not the just. Combining intensive research with the p

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