In this widely acclaimed volume, bestselling author Thomas Keneally brings to life the vast range of characters who have formed our national story.
Convicts and Aborigines, settlers and soldiers, patriots and reformers, bushrangers and gold seekers, it is from their lives and their stories that he has woven a vibrant history to do full justice to the rich and colourful nature of our unique national character.
The story begins by looking at European occupation through Aboriginal eyes as we move between the city slums and rural hovels of eighteenth century Britain and the shores of Port Jackson. We spend time on the low-roofed convict decks of transports, and we see the bewilderment of the Eora people as they see the first ships of turaga, or 'ghost people'. We follow the daily round of Bennelong and his wife Barangaroo, and the tribulations of warrior Windradyne. Convicts like Solomon Wiseman and John Wilson find their feet and even fortune, while Henry Parkes' arrival as a penniless immigrant gives few clues to the national statesman he was to become. We follow the treks of the Chinese diggers - the Celestials - to the goldfields, and revolutionaries like Italian Raffaello Carboni and black American John Joseph bring us the drama of the Eureka uprising.
Were the first European mothers whores or matriarchs? How did this often cruel and brutal penal experiment lead to a coherent civil society? Tom Keneally brings to life the high and the low, the convict and the free of early Australian society.
This is truly a new history of Australia, by an author of outstanding literary skill and experience, and whose own humanity permeates every page.
About the Author
Thomas Michael Keneally, AO (born 7 October 1935) is an Australian novelist, playwright and author of non-fiction. He is best known for writing Schindler's Ark, the Booker Prize winning novel of 1982 which was inspired by the efforts of Poldek Pfefferberg, a Holocaust survivor. The book would later be adapted to Steven Spielberg's Schindler's List, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
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" Keneally has all the gifts of a great storyteller: a curious eye, a clear voice, worldly knowledge and an innocent, inexhaustible heart. "San Francisco Chronicle "on A" Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia"
Series: Australians / Thomas Keneally (Paperback)
Number Of Pages: 640
Published: 1st September 2010
Publisher: ALLEN & UNWIN ACADEMIC
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 24.5 x 17.2 x 4.06
Weight (kg): 1.36
Edition Number: 1