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Leviathan: The unauthorised biography of Sydney Paperback – 2000

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

'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 pace of a techno-thriller, John Birmingham creates a rich portrait of a city too dazzled by its own gorgeous reflection to caremuch for what lies at its dark, corrupted heart. Illuminated by wild flashes of black humour, violent, ghoulish and utterly compelling, Leviathan is history for the Tarantino generation.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 563 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Vintage ed edition (2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0091842034
  • ISBN-13: 978-0091842031
  • Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 5 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,707,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hey there. It's me. JB. Right now I'm probably kicking back on my hovercraft somewhere in the Antilles, or the Maldives, enjoying a dissolute, essentially meaningless life funded by your generous book purchases. Please, don't make me go back to selling my bodily fluids to science. Buy my books now and I promise to keep indulging myself in grotesque pleasures and luxury that I haven't really earned.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin Johnston on October 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book. I've lived in Sydney for several years (loving every moment) but took it at face value. This book explains some of the quirks and history of the city - explaining how the modern city came to be. Having now read the book, I feel like I understand and recognize much more of the 'texture' of the city when I walk around the CBD.

I suspect that you're not going to get too much out of this book without having lived in Sydney for at least six months -- much of it, I think, depends on having visited and seen the suburbs, streets and sights, because the author uses the present city to explain its past.

My only complaint about the book is its "non-linear" structure. The book is a great and fun introduction to the city's history (emphasizing its murky past) but I did find myself wishing for more structure and detail. If Sydney really interests you, then you might want to also order a more 'dry' history of the city to complement this book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Really loved this Biography of Sydney. I must say I'm a fan of JB now after reading the WW2 trilogy which I loved too. I have always wondered about a lot of the darker things about Sydney, having come here in the late 80's, I think you get more of a sense as an outsider looking in. It is a confusing city at times, and as a friend of mine says....it's not as funky as it thinks it is.... This is true sometimes as seen through the violence recently and not so recently. But overall it's a great place to live, and this book has definitely helped me understand some of the difficulties Sydney has been through.
The book feels like it will be almost a manual for Sydney, to go back and check facts, mostly to solve arguments I suppose, because you get those conversations where people want to out-dark each other by knowing the dirtiest stories. Yeah this book will come in handy for sure
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Reading this book gave me a totally new view of the city I was born and raised in. Names that I was familiar with (e.g. Macarthur) gained a totally new persona as I read about their exploits in the fledgling city. I would totally recommend this for anyone with an interest in the Harbour City.
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