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The Heroic Search for Australia's Deadliest Snake

Brendan James Murray



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01 September 2017
True stories: discovery, historical & scientific; Mathematics & Sciences; Wildlife: reptiles & amphibians
This historic search for Australia’s deadliest snake. By one of Australia’s best and brightest young authors, this is a gripping, incandescent tale of heroism and tragedy, offering the glimmering possibility of reconciliation.

In the early years of the twentieth century, an awareness was growing among European Australians of an unexpected threat, one that seemed the very embodiment of the dark, ominous power of the Australian bush. To the Indigenous people of the Guugu Yimithirr nation, it was nguman; to the whites it was the taipan, an eight foot, lightning fast venomous snake whose bite meant certain death.

Venom is an examination of European settlers’ troubled and often antagonistic relationship with the land, seen through the lens of the desperate scramble for an antivenom, and highlighted by the story of George Rosendale, a taipan bite victim of the Guugu Yimithirr nation.
By:   Brendan James Murray
Imprint:   ECHO
Country of Publication:   Australia
ISBN:   9781760405694
ISBN 10:   1760405698
Publication Date:   01 September 2017
Audience:   General/trade ,  ELT Advanced
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Reviews for Venom: The Heroic Search for Australia's Deadliest Snake

Packed with research and simply stunning writing. . . . Combining thoughtful writing with almost thriller-like pacing, and packed with extensive and excellent research, the book also reveals a surprisingly emotional side, as driven science meets very human grief. --The AU Review By one of Australia's best and brightest young authors, this is a gripping tale of heroism and tragedy, offering the glimmering possibility of reconciliation. --Creative Spirits It was said to be a giant, red-eyed, copper-coloured serpent that could lash out with the ferocity of a crocodile. Until the Wikmunkan people of the Cape York Peninsula lead naturalist Donald Thomson to a living speciman in 1933, the reptile was thought to be a myth. Thomson published a scientific paper about the discovery of the taipan but, as Brendan James Murray points out, it was hardly a discovery, more a translation into white mythology of what Wikmunkan people and others had always understood. This dual perspective makes Venom much more than a tense, vividly written human drama about the race to make an antivenom for one of the most deadly snakes in the world. Through the remarkable survival story of Indigenous boy George Rosendale, Murray subtly traces the venom unleashed by European settlers themselves. --Sydney Morning Herald The way Murray writes history instantly brings to mind contemporaries such as Peter Fitzsimons, Grantlee Kieza, and Julia Baird. Not only has he picked an admittedly unusual entry point into Australian social and history; he has done so with a novelist's flair. These days, the best kind of history writing engages the reader's intellectual curiosity as well as their yearning for story and narrative. It's the subject matter--venom and poisonous snakes and Australia's indigenous and colonial history--that draws the reader in. --Better Reading

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