Geoffrey BlaineyGeoffrey Norman Blainey (born 11 March 1930) is an Australian historian, academic, best selling author and commentator. He is noted for having written authoritative texts on the economic and social history of Australia, including ''The Tyranny of Distance''. He has published over 40 books, including wide-ranging histories of the world and of Christianity. He has often appeared in newspapers and on television. He held chairs in economic history and history at the University of Melbourne for over 20 years. In the 1980s, he was visiting professor of Australian Studies at Harvard University. He received the 1988 Britannica Award for 'exceptional excellence in the dissemination of knowledge for the benefit of mankind', the first historian to receive that award and was made a Companion of the Order of Australia in 2000.
He was once described by Graeme Davison as the "most prolific, wide-ranging, inventive, and, in the 1980s and 1990s, most controversial of Australia's living historians". He has been chairman or member of the Australia Council, the University of Ballarat, the Australia-China Council, the Commonwealth Literary Fund and the Australian War Memorial. He chaired the National Council for the Centenary of Federation. His name sometimes appears in lists of the most influential Australians, past or present. The National Trust lists Blainey as one of Australia's "Living Treasures". He served on the boards of philanthropic bodies, including the Ian Potter Foundation (1991-2014) and the Deafness Foundation Trust since 1993, and is patron of others.
Biographer Geoffrey Bolton in 1999 argues that he has played multiple roles as an Australian historian: ::He first came to prominence in the 1950s as a pioneer in the neglected field of Australian business history ... He produced during the 1960s and 1970s a number of surveys of Australian history in which explanation was organized around the exploration of the impact of the single factor (distance, mining, pre-settlement Aboriginal society) ... Blainey next turned to the rhythms of global history in the industrial period.... Because of his authority as a historian, he was increasingly in demand as a commentator on Australian public affairs.
In 2006, the Melbourne historian John Hirst made his assessment: "Geoffrey Blainey, the most prolific and popular of our historians". Alan Atkinson, author of a three-volume history of Australia, called Blainey "our most eminent living historian" in a long review that mixes criticism with praise. Provided by Wikipedia