Susan Stoner, author of Land Sharks and Timber Beast, recommended a book recently, The Australia Years: the Life of a Nuclear Migrant by P. Anna Johnson. Johnson and her husband emigrated to Australia in the 1960s, around the time of the Cuban missile crisis. Apparently many Americans fled, afraid of the radioactive fallout. Ironically, as Johnson later learned, Britain was performing atomic tests in the Australian outback — a fact unknown to these pilgrims and which posed its own set of dangers. All they knew when they arrived was that they were welcome. Americans were popular Down Under. The United States had come to Australia’s aid during World War 11 and that grateful nation never forgot.
The story of the American migration was unknown to me, so I was eager to read the book. Mostly, it’s an autobiography but one full of historical tidbits and the color and rhythms of life in that far flung nation with a frontier history like our own. As a newcomer, Johnson had to make adjustments, of course, including a divorce, which she endured with grace. Add to that her own history as a writer, a publisher, a dancer, a potter and a woman with two boys to raise, and the pages of her book carry the reader along effortlessly.
Johnson eventually returned with her sons to the United States. The reason is all part of the saga of, The Australia Years: the Life of a Nuclear Migrant.
(Courtesy of Amazon.com)