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Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy

by Sophie Cunningham

The sky at the top end is big and the weather moves like a living thing. You can hear it in the cracking air when there is an electrical storm and as the thunder rolls around the sky…

When Cyclone Tracy swept down on Darwin at Christmas 1974, the weather became not just a living thing but a killer. Tracy destroyed an entire city, left seventy-one people dead and ripped the heart out of Australia’s season of goodwill.

For the fortieth anniversary of the nation’s most iconic natural disaster, Sophie Cunningham has gone back to the eyewitness accounts of those who lived through the devastation—and those who faced the heartbreaking clean-up and the back-breaking rebuilding. From the quiet stirring of the service-station bunting that heralded the catastrophe to the wholesale slaughter of the dogs that followed it, Cunningham brings to the tale a novelist’s eye for detail and an exhilarating narrative drive. And a sober appraisal of what Tracy means to us now, as we face more—and more destructive—extreme weather with every year that passes.

Compulsively readable and undeniably moving, Warning is the essential non-fiction book of 2014.



About Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham is the author of two novels, Geography (2004) and Bird (2008) and the non-fiction Melbourne (2011). She is a former editor of Meanjin and was until recently the chair of the Australia Council’s Literature Board.



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