A Commonwealth of Thieves: The Improbable Birth of Australia

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2007 - History - 385 pages
2 Reviews
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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Fact is often more interesting than fiction

User Review  - mpidd - Overstock.com

As an Australian who learnt a shamefully small and distorted part of our countrys history at school and who has since developed an avid interest in Australian history I began reading Keneallys A ... Read full review

A commonwealth of thieves: the improbable birth of Australia

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Booker Prize winner Keneally (Schindler's List ) seeks to illuminate the human side of England's colonization of Australia. In the 18th century, the English penal system was severely overcrowded, and ... 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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