A Commonwealth of Thieves

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In this spirited history of the remarkable first four years of the convict settlement of Australia, Thomas Keneally offers us a human view of a fascinating piece of history. Combining the authority of a renowned historian with a brilliant narrative flair, Keneally gives us an inside view of this unprecedented experiment from the perspective of the new colony’s governor, Arthur Phillips. Using personal journals and documents, Keneally re-creates the hellish overseas voyage and the challenges Phillips faced upon arrival: unruly convicts, disgruntled officers, bewildered and hostile natives, food shortages, and disease. He also offers captivating portrayals of Aborigines and of convict settlers who were determined to begin their lives anew. A Commonwealth of Thieves immerses us in the fledgling penal colony and conjures up the thrills and hardships of those first four improbable years.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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About the author

THOMAS KENEALLY has won international acclaim for his novels Schindler’s List (the basis for the movie and the winner of the Booker Prize), The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Confederates, Gossip from the Forest, The Playmaker, Woman of the Inner Sea, A River Town, Office of Innocence, and The Tyrant’s Novel. His most recent works of nonfiction are The Great Shame and American Scoundrel. He resides in Sydney, Australia.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Reviews

4.0
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Additional Information

Publisher
Anchor
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Published on
Dec 4, 2007
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Pages
400
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ISBN
9780307387578
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Australia & New Zealand
History / Modern / 17th Century
History / Oceania
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Book 2
In this companion volume of Thomas Keneally's widely acclaimed history of the Australian people, the vast range of characters who have formed our national story are brought vividly to life. Immigrants and Aboriginal resistance figures, bushrangers and pastoralists, working men and pioneering women, artists and hard-nosed radicals, politicians and soldiers all populate this richly drawn portrait of a vibrant land on the cusp of nationhood and social maturity.

From the 1860s to the great rifts wrought by World War I, an era commenced in which Australian pursued glimmering visions: of equity in a promised land. It was a time of social experiment and reform, of industrial radicalism and women's rights. We were a society the world had much to learn from, or so we believed. But as much as we espoused we were a special people and celebrated a larrikin anti-authoritarianism, we retained provincial objectives that saw ultimate respect for society's structures. There was no Australian revolution.

With a rich assortment of contradictory, inspiring and surprising characters, Tom Keneally brings to life the people of a young and cocky nation. This is truly a new history of Australia, by an author of outstanding literary skill and experience, and whose own humanity permeates every page.

Praise for Australians:

'No doubt about it, Australians is a corker.' - Cassandra Pybus, Weekend Australian

'.the story of Australia and the Australians could be in no better hands than Keneally's.' - West Australian

'Keneally evokes these distant lives with concrete detail and vivid sympathy.his people inhabit the same world we do - we meet them without the hesitation of reaching across voids of space and time. - Sydney Morning Herald

'[Australians]will appeal to the general reader and the avid historian alike, and this is only the first volume. This reader can't wait for the second.' - Bookseller + Publisher
Thomas Keneally
Australians, Thomas Keneally's widely acclaimed three volume history of the Australian people from origins to Vietnam, gave us a robust, vibrant and page-turning narrative that brought to life the vast range of characters who have formed our national story.

Australians: a short history brings these three volumes together and reintroduces us to the rich assortment of contradictory, inspiring and surprising characters who made a young and cocky Australia.

It is the story of the original Australians and European occupation of their land through the convict era to pastoralists, bushrangers and gold seekers, working men, pioneering women, the rifts wrought by World War I, the rise of hard-nosed radicals from the Left and the Right, the social upheavals of the Great Crash and World War II, the Menzies era, the nation changing period of post-war migration and Australia's engagement with Asia. This is a truly masterly history of Australia and its people by an author of outstanding literary skill whose own humanity permeates every page.

Praise for Australians, the three volume history

'... giving us what Australian history has desperately needed for years.' Canberra Times

'Keneally evokes these distant lives with concrete detail and vivid sympathy ... his people inhabit the same world we do - we meet them without the hesitation of reaching across voids of space and time.' Sydney Morning Herald

'When it comes to writing page-turning narrative no one does it better than Thomas Keneally ... no doubt about it, Australians is a corker.' Weekend Australian

'Reading this book is like listening to a witty raconteur.' Adelaide Advertiser

'This new perspective on Australia's founding fathers is truly fascinating.' Courier Mail

'... what this book does is populate the blankness of our collective memory with lots of characters from all parts of the continent and all walks of life.' Saturday Age
Thomas Keneally
Woman of the Inner Sea is Thomas Keneally’s strongest, most compelling work since his Booker Prize-winning Schindler’s List. Like that book, the story of Woman of the Inner Sea arises from a true incident, and once more the imagining of it is utterly convincing.
 
Kate Gaffney-Kozinski, an attractive, well educated woman, has gone on “walkabout” to the inner reaches of the Australian outback. Fleeing her wealthy husband, Paul Kozinski, and his unscrupulous clan, Kate is trying to obliterate herself and the grief that haunts her. At first we do not understand its source, but as the story unfolds a kind of mystery evolves around the tragic loss of her two children. In a small town she tries to change herself into a different woman, seeking the companionship and protection of a reticent but rough local man, an explosives expert known as Jelly. But the violence of the west country’s unpredictable weather forces her on and soon she must confront her husband.
 
No one knows Australian society better than Thomas Keneally, who offers here a rich cross-section of his people: from Kate’s prominent father to her controversial uncle, a renegade priest; from the grasping Kozinskis who rule Sydney’s construction business to colorful small-town men like Jelly and his friend Gus, who travels with a kangaroo and emu he has rescued from an entertainment park. And at the center of this panorama stands Kate, a passionate woman of great integrity caught in a nightmare of grief and deception. Woman of the Inner Sea, with its evocation of the heroic in the midst of disaster and evil, will be remembered as one of Thomas Keneally’s best works.  
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