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An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before.

An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before.

'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 care much 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.

Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 4, 2000

    Vintage Australia

    592 pages

    RRP $19.99

    Online retailers

    • Abbey's Bookshop
    • Angus & Robertson Bookworld
    • Booktopia
    • Boomerang Books
    • Collins Booksellers
    • Dymocks
    • Books Kinokuniya
    • The Nile
    • QBD
    • Readings
    • Robinsons Bookshop

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    July 1, 2011

    RHA eBooks Adult

    596 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Booktopia
    • eBooks
    • Google Play
    • Kobo

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

Also by John Birmingham

The Brave Ones: East Timor, 1999: Short Black 5
A Time For War: The Rebirth of Australia's Military Culture: Quarterly Essay 20
Off One's Tits
Appeasing Jakarta: Australia's Complicity in the East: Quarterly Essay 2


At Home
Fifteen Young Men
Guns, Germs And Steel
The Story of the Jews
The Water Kingdom
Hitler's First Victims
Back in Blighty
Diggers, Hatters & Whores
The Man Who Drew London
Long Road from Jarrow
Queer City
Histories of Controversy
Home and Away