A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007 - History - 385 pages
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.

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User Review  - charlie68 - LibraryThing

A good enveloping account of the arrival of prisoners to the penal colony of what is now Australia. Mr. Keneally knows his subjects inside-out and brings a unique perspective to the events. Read full review

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User Review  - PennyAnne - LibraryThing

Fascinating account of the settlement of Australia from the landing of the First Fleet and through the first few years of the colony. Easy to read, very informative and with a focus on individual ... Read full review

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About the author (2007)

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.

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