The Commonwealth of Thieves: The Story of the Founding of Australia (Paperback)Thomas Keneally (author)
The story of modern Australia begins in eighteenth-century Britain, where people were hanged for petty offences but crime was rife, and the gaols were bursting. From this situation was born the Sydney experiment, with criminals perceived to be damaging British society transported to Sydney, an 'open air prison with walls 14,000 miles thick'.
Eleven ships were dispatched in 1781, and arrived in Australia after eight hellish months at sea. Tom Keneally describes the first four years of the 'thief colony' and how, despite the escapes, the floggings, the murders and the rebellions, it survived against the odds to create a culture which would never have been tolerated in its homeland but which, in Australia, became part of the identity of a new and audacious nation.
By the author of Schindler's Ark, since made into the internationally acclaimed film, Schindler's List.
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Number of pages: 528
Weight: 362 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 31 mm
Evocative, broad-ranging and intelligently observed * Mail on Sunday *
Keneally has deployed his outstanding talents as a narrative writer to produce an enlivening, informative and judicious book about his country's troubled origins -- Barclay McBain * Herald *
Keneally has always had a grand talent for the telling of a tale. His rattling account of the genesis of his native city is one of his very best -- Carmen Callil * The Times *
The Commonwealth of Thieves is immaculately researched and historically exact... a great read and a useful scholarly resource....an account of an extraordinary event described with gusto and sympathy -- Kate Grenville * Guardian *
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