To Hell and High Water tells the story of the quest of two brothers to conquer the extreme conditions of outback Australia, recreating the Bourke to Hungerford ‘tramp’ that influenced some of Australian literary legend Henry Lawson’s greatest works.
The book is part autobiography and part biography. It is an autobiography of the author’s experiences with his brother overcoming significant obstacles to achieve his dream of walking in Lawson’s footsteps. It paints a vivid picture of some of Australia’s most remote country, the challenges and dangers, the heat, the distance, mosquitoes, blisters and thirst.
At the same time it blends in the biography of Henry Lawson’s captivating life including his marriage, struggles with alcoholism, his suicide attempt, influences upon his writing and his ideals of mateship. Extracts of Lawson’s own writing have been carefully selected and woven into the narrative in a manner that draws parallels between the two experiences and offers fresh insights into his life.
It is a story both of Australia’s past and Australia’s present—in fact a relatively little known past and present. As Henry Lawson wrote:
“And in the land of Lord-knows-where— Right up and furthest out—
You find a new Australia there
That we know nought about.”
This is an opportunity for readers to find out about an Australia that they know “nought about.” This book is also the story of an ordinary person achieving extraordinary things through unwavering mateship and a dogged determination never to give up.