In 1787, Britain banished its unwanted citizens - uneducated petty thieves, streetwalkers, orphan chimney sweeps and dashing highwaymen - to the fringes of the known world. So remote was Botany Bay - the destination to which the overcrowded, disease-ridden convict ships were bound - that only one European expedition had ever before anchored there. Yet the rejects of Britain, accompanied only by a flimsy complement of soldiers, marines and officers, were expected to start a settlement and flourish. It was an audacious social experiment, unparalleled before or since. To the indigenous inhabitants, the white men came as ghosts through cracks in the cosmos, rudely seizing the bounty of land and sea. On the swampy shores of Botany Bay, and by the sandstone coves of Sydney Harbour, the clash of civilisations was ineviteable, intense and often tragic. From this improbably beginning, through famine, drought, escapes and floggings, the glory of modern Sydney was born. Britain's penal experiment succeeded against all odds. Impeccably researched and imaginatively told, The Commonwealth of Thieves is the compelling tale of a nation's beginning, its unforgettable people and their quest for identity.
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.
"A readable, anecdote-packed account of a tragic colonial experiment." --"Boston Globe" "Superb. . . . Keneally uses his novelist's skill to construct a lively mosaic from contemporary accounts." --"Financial Times" "Evocative. . . . Weaving together many individual stories, Keneally paints an impressionistic picture of a society in the making." --"The Washington Post Book World" "Keneally deploys his skills as a novelist to give depth to his work as an historian." --"The Economist"
For Ages: 14 - 18 years old
For Grades: 10 - 12
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: December 2007
Publisher: Random House Australia
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 13.4 x 3.5
Weight (kg): 0.37