Most Australians know something about Ned Kelly – his gang’s final shoot out with the police at Glenrowan, Ned in his iron armour taken down by troopers shooting at his exposed legs, his subsequent trial and hanging in Melbourne – it’s a story often told. But did you know that Ned was planning a republic of north-east Victoria? That many of the settlers in the area were ready to take on the establishment and form their own independent state? That Ned’s ‘life of crime’ can be linked to the gross corruption of the colonial Victorian police force? Historian Brad Webb has written the essential guide to the Kelly legacy, with rarely seen images.
This book is a must for any library, and has plenty to offer to those who think they know the full story of the Kelly Gang.
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An interesting insight into the legend, Ned Kelly
Like most Australians, I know about Ned Kelly and his gang's exploits without really knowing too much of the detail about what drove him to do what he did. And, probably like most Australians, that's about as far as I've ever delved into the subject until I came across Brad Webb's book.
I found this to be a thoroughly enjoyable and easily readable book, with a large number of photographs and illustrations that certainly I'd never seen before adding to the overall telling of the story.
This is an approachable book that provides some in-depth detail but at the same time doesn't get bogged down in that detail, allowing the book to move along at pace and to keep the reader engaged. The "Did you know…" breakouts in the book are particularly enjoyable and add colour and rounding to the overall story of Ned Kelly and his gang.
To be sure, Kelly is a polarising figure. A quick look at the comments areas on websites such as Brad Webb's IronOutlaw and others devoted to Kelly show that he's clearly revered and reviled in equal measure by those on either side of the argument with little middle ground. As a largely disinterested and uninvested observer this has always amused me; that there's a sub-culture of people who'd seemingly happily have their very own shoot-out to settle things once and for all.
I see this book as an excellent overview of Kelly that allows for the Kelly Gang novice to reach a decision point, to create a lauchpad for more detailed reading on Kelly or to allow the reader to be satisfied that they now know much more than they did before they opened the book.
I'll admit that I'd always leaned on the "horse thief" side of the argument but after having read the book I find myself leaning a bit the other way now. And isn't that what good books are supposed to do, make you think and address your own preconceptions?
Not sure what rock that Dee fellow lives under but this piece of work on our dear Ned is simply brilliant! It's easy to read, has great insight, and shines a light on the corrupt politicians and police of the day. Thank the Gods I didn't live in colonial times as I'm sure I would have joined the Kelly Gang to right all those wrongs!
The author claims to be a historian but he has no such academic qualification and this very lightweight paperback recycles the mythology of Ned Kelly that was popular 20 years ago. Modern research and analysis has disproven much of what Webb claims are the facts about Ned Kelly, but he disgracefully ignores all that, and all the modern writers on the topic. Instead he glosses over every single part of the story thats unpalatable and simply repeats tired old whitewash designed to conceal the truth about this triple police murderer and wannabe mass cop-killer. He might have got away with it if the book was published in 1980 but not in 2017. Readers who are interested have access to all the facts on-line and will quickly realise how many important ones are missing, or misrepresented or contradict Webbs claims.
Number Of Pages: 208
Published: 1st July 2017
Publisher: NEW HOLLAND PUBLISHERS
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 18.0 x 13.4 x 1.5
Weight (kg): 0.23